General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Berger on Sport for Development and Peace

Nov 28, 2012

(General Assembly: Statement as delivered by Ambassador Berger in a plenary meeting on Sport for Development and Peace)

"Mr. President, Excellencies, dear colleagues,

the Report of the Secretary-General entitled „Sport for development and peace: mainstreaming a versatile instrument“ once again underlined the important role, sport can play in the different areas of development and peacebuilding. 

Sports activities bring together people from different regional, cultural and religious backgrounds and help to overcome cultural, linguistic and other barriers.  Sports plays a valuable role in contributing to social cohesiveness and rapprochement between cultures and peoples.

Moreover sport programmes can foster social inclusion and help overcome discrimination against, and marginalization of, women and disabled persons. Sports can also help to promote the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Sport programmes can support social integration, especially after periods of conflict. For example, those programmes can play a major role in the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers and other youths, an aspect that Germany also follows closely in the Security Council as Chair of the working group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC).

We are grateful to the Special Advisor to the SG on sport for development and peace, Mr. Lemke, for bringing together and coordinating the different actors in the fields of sports and development – multilateral actors like the UN entities, national governments, NGOs and civil society organisations. The Office for Sport for Development and Peace plays this key role in connecting people, promoting peace and mutual understanding and in driving the MDGs through sport.

As members of the Group of Friends for Sport for Development and Peace, we clearly see the added value of the Office’s work. That is the reason why the German Government decided to support the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace and the United Nations Office for Sports for Development and Peace. The Special Adviser covers sport in all it’s dimensions, from major world sport events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, till grass-roots activities in developing countries.

The Youth Leadership Camps developed by UNOSDP is a good example how this cooperation of different actors in achieving the common goal can look like. And it shows how important the work of UNOSDP and the Special Adviser for the development of programmes and the coordination of the different actors is. Germany takes proud in being one of the hosts of the Youth Leadership Camp in 2012.

Germany is proud of having been the main supporter for the office’s activities since 2008. Our clear intention is to continue with our support in the future. However, predictability of funding is of utmost importance. We therefore fully support Mr. Lemkes approach outlined in the main lines of action in the report to broaden the financial support.

Germany will organize in May 2013 in Berlin a World Sport Minister Conference, where we would like to welcome member states.

I would like to encourage all Member States that share the same objectives as the Office for Sport for Development and Peace to consider becoming a member of the Group of Friends for Sport for Development and Peace. I am convinced that a large and active group can contribute significantly to achieving the common goals.

Let me finish by thanking the co-facilitators Monaco and Tunisia for preparing the resolution we will adopt today.

Thank you!"

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