Sports valuable tool for achieving MDGs: UN chief

11:21, September 21, 2010      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 20, 2010. The UN MDG summit opened on Monday. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday underscored the importance of sports in realizing the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), the ambitious UN program to fight against poverty and strengthen the disease control in the world at large.

"We hear much talk about the need for stronger partnerships in making the Goals a reality," Ban said at a round-table discussion on the value of sports as a development tool held in connection with the opening day of the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Sport exemplifies that very spirit: teamwork, fair play, people collaborating for a common goal," he said, referring to the UN's current partnership with the Olympic movement.

"We use sport in many of our programmes," he said. "Some of the world's greatest athletes are helping us to raise awareness on important issues, such as hunger, HIV-AIDS, gender equality, education and environmental care

The International Olympic Committee has observer status in the UN General Assembly, Ban pointed out and urged "the entire sporting community, including the private sector, to build on these expanding contacts with the United Nations."

On his visit to the opening of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa earlier this year, the UN chief said, "I was impressed by the many initiatives undertaken there in support of the MDGs."

One of those initiatives included the world football governing body's "Football for Hope initiative," a movement that uses the power of the game for positive social change.

Recently the UEFA awarded the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace one million Euros to use for social change projects using football and sport, Ban noted. "Let us create more and stronger partnerships like these," he said.

More and more sportsmen are using their talents and visibility to promoting the UN's goals and values, such as Dominican swimmer Marcos Diaz, who swum the Earth's oceans in a marathon endeavour to raise awareness about the MDGs and arrived in New York last week.

"They are using sport to promote democratic values, keeping our youth safe from sexually transmitted diseases, steering them from drug use and taking care of our environment," the secretary-general said.

Source: Xinhua


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