Pictured here is last year’s celebration of the United Nations’ International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on the main square of Pristina organised by the Kosovo Olympic Committee together with local partners. Each year on April 6th, we celebrate the contribution of sport to education, human development, healthy lifestyle and a peaceful world.
Sport as a universal language can be a powerful tool to promote peace, fraternity and solidarity by bringing people together across boundaries and cultures. Although sport alone cannot stop or solve an acute conflict, sport programmes provide encounters on neutral environment which can transform aggression and thus can facilitate reconciliation between opposing parties.
Local governments and municipalities can contribute by organising community programmes, allocating and maintaining safe spaces for play and sports and supporting local sport initiatives. For example, in Mozambique, the local governments of Boane and Namaacha and the Minister for Youth and Sports are rehabilitating sports facilities with the support of the IOC and local sports federations.
We recognise the growing contribution of local sport actions in its promotion of tolerance and respect and youth empowerment, which is essential in fragile, post-conflict settings for the realization of development and peace.
It can be difficult to secure spaces for physical activities in the slums and informal settlements of the world, but when given the proper tools, communities can have great success in securing these spaces and making them available for all, such as the Antonio Guterres Slum Soccer Pitch in Nairobi’s Mathare informal settlement. Opened in 2017, this soccer pitch continues being used by Mlango Kubwa community of over 40,000 – predominantly young – people.
We are looking forward to see the local actions organised to celebrate this year’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace!