Sport was on the agenda of the UN General Assembly in New York Monday, 17th October 2011. The world body unanimously co-sponsored and adopted a resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”; the latest in a long series of resolutions on sport passed by Assembly, whose members have repeatedly, since 1993, marked their support to the use of sport as a vehicle for human development and peace-building.
Recalling the ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Truce, the General Assembly today invoked that spirit during its plenary meeting on the theme of “Sport for peace and development” by urging States to observe a cessation of hostilities throughout the 45-day period beginning with the start of the London Olympic Games on 27 July 2012 to the closing of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.
Present at the UN General Assembly when the text was adopted, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke, commented: “The fact that the resolution was co-sponsored by all 193 UN Member States shows how much they support the idea of mobilizing the unique potential of sport to advance development and peace objectives, thus providing all actors – including the UN, governments, NGOs, sports federations – with an ever stronger basis for continuing to leverage that power and to strengthen their collaboration.”
By the text, the Assembly explicitly welcomed such cooperation “to work towards a meaningful and sustainable contribution through sport to raising awareness of, and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, double Olympic Gold medallist and Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, who introduced the Resolution on behalf of the United Kingdom, declared: “It would be folly to suggest that sport provides a complete answer, a panacea for all our social ills. But it can and does help to mend broken communities, rebuild trust, rediscover self-respect, and foster the values at the core of our common humanity.”
Every other year since 1993, the resolution – also known as the “Olympic Truce Resolution” – is passed by the General Assembly. The text is traditionally introduced by the host country of the edition of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that falls within the annual session of the UN General Assembly.
In conjunction with the adoption of the resolution, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met today in Geneva with Lord Bates of Langbaurgh, a member of the UK Parliament who has engaged on a walk of over 3000 miles through seventeen countries, from Mt Olympus to London, in order to raise awareness of the Truce and advocate for serious and meaningful consideration of the core concept of it (see photos of the meeting here).
Mr. Ban praised Lord Bates’ Walk for Truce initiative, stating his appreciation of Lord Bates’ valuable contribution to implementing the Truce concept and values, and to leading by example in showing that passionate and committed individuals can make a valuable contribution to world peace.