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The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

2005: International Year of Sport and Physical Education

Every year since 1959, the United Nations has designated International years to draw attention to issues affecting mankind throughout the world and encouraging international cooperation and action to address issues of global importance. On 5 November 2004, The United Nations formally launched 2005 as the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. United Nations Secretary - General Kofi Annan referred to sport as the “universal language”. He stated, “At its best it can bring people together - no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status. When young people participate in sports or have access to physical education, they can experience real exhilaration even as they learn the ideals of teamwork and tolerance.”(Yahoo New!,Nov. 16, 2004)

Kofi Annan’s words can be found in global press releases from the United States, Canada across oceans to the United Arab Emirates, India, Europe, Africa, China and the Ukraine. This International Year of Sport extends far beyond the playing fields, recognizing the contributions that sport can make to intercultural dialogue, the building of tolerance for others, a reduction of hatred in countries torn internally by civil wars and, hopefully, the cessation of wars between countries.

On Friday, November 5, 2004 world tennis number-one Roger Federer, a Swiss national, and New York City marathon champion Margaret Okayo helped launch the beginning of this event. They will act as spokespersons for the year-long project.

It is apparent, when reviewing the literature, on what is being done in various countries, that it will be a challenge to develop truly intercultural events. Peace building can only be accomplished if the events are intercultrually based bringing together people of different ethnicities, religions, and nationalities.

Only time will tell how successful this resoultion is as more countries develop their action plans. Most are interested in seeing what mesasurable outcomes, if any, come from this year long project. The United States Sports Academy will follow the events of 2005- The International Year of Sport with future articles.

The Resolution is out-lined below:

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly

[without reference to a Main Committee (A/58/L.2 and Add.1)]

58/5. Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace

The General Assembly,

Recalling its decision to include in its agenda an item entitled "Sport for peace and development" and a sub-item thereof entitled "International Year of Sport and Physical Education",

Considering the role of sport and physical education as a means to promote education, health, development and peace,

Acknowledging the major role of the United Nations, its funds and programs and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and other specialized agencies, in promoting human development through sport and physical education, through its country programs,

Taking note of the communiqué issued by the round table of ministers responsible for sports and physical education, held in Paris on 9 and 10 January 2003, in which they expressed their commitment to ensuring that the role of physical education and sport is fully recognized and developed,

Recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly on children entitled "A world fit for children" stressing that education shall be directed to the development of children’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential,

Recalling also the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Dakar Framework for Action adopted at the World Education Forum in April 2000, as well as other relevant documents emphasizing the role of sport and physical education,

Taking note of the report of the United Nations Inter-agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace,

Noting that sport and physical education in many countries face increasing marginalization within education systems even though they are a major tool not only for health and physical development but also for acquiring values necessary for social cohesion and intercultural dialogue,

Acknowledging with concern the dangers faced by sportsmen and sportswomen, in particular young athletes, including, child labor, violence, doping, early specialization, over-training and exploitative forms of commercialization, as well as less visible threats and deprivations, such as the premature severance of family bonds and the loss of sporting, social and cultural ties,

Recognizing the need for greater coordination of efforts at the international level to facilitate a more effective fight against doping, and noting in this regard the Anti-Doping Convention established by the Council of Europe, the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-doping in Sport, adopted during the World Conference on Doping in Sport, held from 3 to 5 March 2003, and any other relevant international instrument,

1) Invites Governments, the United Nations, its funds and programs, the specialized agencies, where appropriate, and sport-related institutions:

(a) To promote the role of sport and physical education for all when furthering their development programs and policies, to advance health awareness, the spirit of achievement and cultural bridging and to entrench collective values;

(b) To include sport and physical education as a tool to contribute towards achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the broader aims of development and peace;

(c) To work collectively so that sport and physical education can present opportunities for solidarity and cooperation in order to promote a culture of peace and social and gender equality and to advocate dialogue and harmony;

(d) To recognize the contribution of sport and physical education towards economic and social development and to encourage the building and restoration of sports infrastructures;

(e) To further promote sport and physical education, on the basis of locally assessed needs, as a tool for health, education, social and cultural development;

(f) To strengthen cooperation and partnership between all actors, including family, school, clubs/leagues, local communities, youth sports associations and decision makers as well as the public and private sectors, in order to ensure complementarities and to make sport and physical education available to everyone;

(g) To ensure that young talents can develop their athletic potential without any threat to their safety and physical and moral integrity;

2) Encourages Governments, international sports bodies and sport-related organizations to elaborate and implement partnership initiatives and development projects compatible with the education provided at all levels of schooling to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals;

3) Invites Governments and international sports bodies to assist developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, in their capacity-building efforts in sport and physical education;

4) Encourages the United Nations to develop strategic partnerships with the range of stakeholders involved in sport, including sports organizations, sports associations and the private sector, to assist in the implementation of sport for development programs;

5) Encourages Governments and the United Nations system to seek new and innovative ways to use sport for communication and social mobilization, particularly at the national, regional and local levels, engaging civil society through active participation and ensuring that target audiences are reached;

6) Stresses the need for all parties to cooperate closely with international sports bodies to elaborate a "code of good practice";

7) Invites Governments to accelerate the elaboration of an international anti-doping convention in all sports activities, and requests the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in cooperation with other relevant international and regional organizations, to coordinate the elaboration of such a convention;

8) Decides to proclaim 2005 as the International Year for Sport and Physical Education, as a means to promote education, health, development and peace, and invites Governments to organize events to underline their commitment and to seek the assistance of sports personalities in this regard;

9) Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session on the implementation of the present resolution and on the preparation of events at the national and international levels to celebrate the year 2005, under the sub-item entitled "International Year of Sport and Physical Education".

52nd plenary meeting 3 November 2003