The Secretary-General’s message on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2016Sport is a unique and powerful tool for promoting dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of every member of the human family.  It is a driving force for positive social change.  That is why some of the world’s greatest sportsmen and women have been, and remain, engaged in helping the United Nations to raise awareness on important issues such as hunger, HIV-AIDS, gender equality and environmental stewardship.

This year the world is embarking on a major new challenge – implementing the visionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  United Nations Member States have adopted 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals to build a future of peace, justice, dignity and opportunity for all.  Together, they provide a set of integrated and indivisible priorities for people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.

To reach these global goals, we must engage all sectors of society, everywhere.  Sport has an essential role to play.  Sport promotes health and well-being.  It fosters tolerance, mutual understanding and peace.  It contributes to social inclusion and equality.  It empowers women and girls and persons with disabilities.  It is a vital part of quality education in schools.  It empowers, inspires and unites.

On this third International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, I urge Governments, organizations, businesses, and all actors in society to harness the values and power of sport to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  By working – and playing – together, we can create the future we want.