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Message from Ms. Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO
On the occasion of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

6th April 2014

Sport is an essential form of human expression, which can enhance human dignity and strengthen societies as a whole. This is why sport is so important for UNESCO’s work to build peace and to lay the foundations for sustainable development.

On this first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we celebrate the power of sport to bring people of different cultures together around shared values, we raise a flag for the importance of sport to healthy lives and resilient societies, and we highlight sport’s key role in for promoting gender equality and empowering young people.

These were the messages of the 5th UNESCO World Sports Ministers Conference, held last May in Berlin, Germany – which underlined sport as a force for social inclusion and as a platform for teaching the skills and values all societies need today, to overcome inequalities and to challenge all forms of discrimination on the basis of equality and fair play. Sport has never been so global and mediatised, but we must support every society in making the most of sport as a building block for peace and sustainable development. This requires effective policies and programmes, including from Governments, to create the conditions for sport and physical education for all. UNESCO is acting across the board to harness the power of sport – by developing innovative approaches to education, by fostering intercultural dialogue, by promoting gender equality, and by working to engage marginalized groups on a common playing field.

Sport embodies the best of the values all women and men share – let us build on this power, to craft a better future for all. This is UNESCO’s message on the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

Irina Bokova