Ranjan K Baruah
(With direct inputs from UN publication and feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
International Day of Sport FOR DEVELOPMENT & PEACE
sports and physical activities are an integral part of our life. Every human being is related with sports or games. We know that sports encourage our development and it also helps in promotion of good health and prevention of diseases. It is not only important for a person who takes part in sporting events like national games or Olympics or school games but it is integral for each and every individual. Apart from health and physical fitness there are many other advantages of sport. If we look at social perspectives then we shall find that sports helps in the promotion of gender equality. It also helps in social integrations, peace building, etc. It enhances life skills and helps in social mobilization.
From individual development to social integration there are many other things which are possible through sports. It has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right, a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace and well as solidarity, and respect. People are united through games and united together to take up positive action. Sports have worked in peace building in conflict-hit areas as it brings people from different communities together.
The recent pandemic has made it difficult to gather as friends, for teams and fans to compete, play and cheer together. It has taken a toll on individuals, societies, organizations and economies.
Major sporting events like the Olympics had to be postponed due to the pandemic. But sport itself can help play a role in building resilience and in the recovery from the pandemic. It can help in the effort to build back better to a more resilient and equitable world.
Sport can help promote fairness, teambuilding, equality, inclusion and perseverance. Sport and physical activity can also help us get through times of crisis, like COVID-19, by reducing anxieties and improving physical and mental health. There is no doubt that sports are also a career for millions around the world. Apart from sportspeople there are many other professionals who are engaged with sports as a profession.
We have seen how major sporting events are promoting peace and change in the world. Sport can cross boundaries and defy stereotypes and inspire hope across nations, but we will only be able to get back to this, if we recover better and help end the pandemic by helping ensure everyone is protected from COVID-19.
Like many other international events, the 'International Day of Sport for Development and Peace' is observed on 6 April and at present this is an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity plays in communities and in people's lives across the world. The day was proclaimed by international community due to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values, sport is ideally positioned to contribute towards the United Nations' objectives for development and peace.
To raise awareness of this potential, 6th April was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by the UN General Assembly. The adoption of this Day signifies the increasing recognition by the UN of the positive influence that sport can have on the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.
In its Resolution (A/RES/67/296) establishing the Day, the General Assembly "invites States, the United Nations system and, in particular, the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, relevant international organizations, and international, regional and national sport organizations, civil society including, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and all other relevant stakeholders to cooperate, observe and raise awareness of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace."
Many organizations of the UN system, including the International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development, organized jointly with the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, have already established partnerships with the International Olympic Committee. The mission and role of the Committee, as set out in the Olympic Charter, are placing sport at the service of humankind and promoting a peaceful society and healthy lifestyles by associating sport with culture and education and safeguarding human dignity without any discrimination whatsoever.
The General Assembly also recognizes the role that the International Paralympics Committee plays in showcasing the achievements of athletes with impairment to a global audience and in acting as a primary vehicle to change societal perceptions of disability sport.
World is striving for achieving sustainable development goals and there are efforts from all over the world for the 'Agenda 2030'. The interesting part is sport has proven to be a cost-effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sport's role for social progress is further acknowledged: "Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives."
This day is an opportunity to focus more on how we can make best use of sports and games for bringing positive social transformation in the society. It is not necessary that we will play because we have to become a sportsperson or keep our health in good condition but let us also focus and use it as a tool for social change as it unites people together. Let us engage ourselves and use sports as a tool to bring positive change in our society.