It is widely acknowledged that sport can contribute to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding.
Sport and physical education can present opportunities for solidarity and cooperation in order to promote tolerance, a culture of peace, social and gender equality, adequate resources to the special needs of persons with disabilities, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.
The International Year of Sport and Physical Education in 2005 generated considerable attention to the relevance of sports in peace and development.
The momentum created from the International Year is a good basis for an important follow-up.
A key aspect, in this regard, will be to strengthen the clear linkage between the opportunity to participate in sport and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the broader goals of sustainable development and peace.
Sport-based initiatives should be among the efforts to achieve the MDGs.
Integration and mainstreaming of Sport for Development and Peace in development programmes and policies are key, in this regard. Norway supports the strategy that “sport for all” should be the basis for the systematic use of sport for development and peace.
An effective way to promote “sport for all” is through schools. Sport must be integrated into the education plans in schools, at all levels.
The United Nations has a clear role in implementing the agenda of sports for development of peace. The UN should promote implementation of partnership initiatives and development projects.
Partnerships have proven a useful approach for advancing and coordinating sport for development and peace. Partnerships can also lay the groundwork for cost-effective integration of sports for development and peace into national development policies and programmes.
Sport programmes should be initiated to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Conserted efforts should be made to move positions forward on women and sport. The follow-up process should be more systematic and effective I order to support a gender perspective.
Intensified efforts in sports should be used to promote greater awareness and action to foster peace. In this regard, a full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security is important.
Norway supports the United Nations Action Plan on Sport and Development contained in the report of the Secretary-General.
The aim of the Action Plan is to realize the full potential of sport as a powerful, cost-effective way of supporting member states in achieving the MDGs by 2015 and the broader goals of sustainable development and lasting peace. The intention is to expand and strengthen partnerships, Sport for Development and Peace programmes and projects, as well as advocacy and communications activities.
In this respect I would like to ephasize the important work done by civil society. In particular, Norway has been proud to support “Right to Play”, an international humanitarian non-governmental organisation, headed by the Norwegian four-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Johann Olav Koss, with programmes in close to thirty countries.
We are equally impressed by the Mathare Youth Sports Associaton (MYSA) in Kenya and its groundbraking work for children and youth in slum areas.
Norway would also like to praise the work of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Adolf Ogi, for his dedication to these issues. He has indeed played a key role in promoting this important agenda.
Finally, Norway as a cosponsor fully supports the draft resolution introduced by Tunisia and urges its adoption by consensus.