IOC EB member Kirsty Coventry highlights role of sport in promoting UN Sustainable Development Goals and crime prevention strategies at UN General Assembly

Speaking during the high-level discussion on “Crime Prevention and Sustainable Development through Sport”, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA, yesterday, Coventry highlighted the IOC’s commitment to leveraging sport as a powerful tool to achieve the nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. United.

“This association has recognized sport on numerous occasions as an important enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said. “365 days a year, sport contributes to building more peaceful and secure societies around the world. The IOC’s vision is to build a better world through sport, and the IOC’s strategic roadmap, Olympic Agenda 2020+5, places it at its core The role of sport in achieving sustainable development goals.

“Today I reiterate the Olympic Movement’s readiness to be a strong partner in confronting the challenges of our societies through sport.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games, she highlighted the peace mission of the Olympic Movement, with the participation of athletes from the territories of 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team: “They will put aside their differences in order to compete peacefully on the field. At the same time, They will live together under one roof in the Olympic Village. In this divisive and confrontational world, our mission of peace is even more important, and all our athletes are role models for us in how to live and thrive together.

Coventry went on to stress the importance of sport at the community level in promoting peace and reducing crime, especially among young people.

“Sport is a valuable, low-cost, high-impact tool to accelerate responses to our common international development agenda, and even more so for our youth,” she said. “Locally-led, context-specific sports initiatives contribute to improving the lives of young people and their communities. They are increasingly prioritized across social development policies, including in the area of ​​crime prevention, where they are proving effective in empowering young people to become agents of positive change and reducing anti-social behaviour.

The high-level discussion provided an opportunity for UN Member States, observers in the General Assembly, UN entities and participating stakeholders to discuss the role of sport in strengthening development and crime prevention strategies and programmes, including for youth, and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. .

“We increasingly see that sport contributes to development, justice and peace; promoting tolerance and respect; empowering women and youth; and promoting health, education and social inclusion in line with the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Denis Francis, President of the UN General Assembly.

“Sports not only help channel young people’s emotions towards healthy competition, but also instil a sense of community. This is why Member States must view sport as an integral part of prevention policies and programs for young people – increasing their meaningful participation,” Francis added. And comprehensive.”

Focus on sports initiatives to address youth crime

The high-level discussion included an interactive panel discussion on “Preventing youth crime through sports initiatives”, which also included representatives from within the Olympic Movement, including Laiana de Souza, IOC Young Leader from Brazil and founder of Change the Score, and Domenico Di Maio, Director of Education and Culture at the organizing committee of Milano Cortina 2026.

With the support of International Olympic Committee Young Leaders Programme, de Souza launched the “Change the Score” initiative to provide growth opportunities and improve the quality of life of young people in Rocinha, the largest slum in Rio de Janeiro. The initiative provides free basketball lessons and extracurricular activities to boys and girls in Rocinha, with the hope that the skills they learn on the court will be transferred to everyday life, helping to address the issues of crime and violence prevalent within the favelas.

The panel discussion provided another opportunity to exchange best practices from different regions, and shed light on how sport can play a critical role in empowering youth and community members to become active agents of positive change and support crime prevention efforts.

The importance of partnerships to achieve maximum impact

Following the high-level discussion, a side event focused on “Harnessing sport to prevent crime through partnerships” was also held. The event was organized in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Italy, Jamaica, Monaco and Qatar to the United Nations in New York, and included further remarks by Coventry and Francis, as well as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime co-sponsored this side event.

The event focused on how sports-based interventions can effectively enhance and complement crime prevention strategies and programmes, helping to increase their social impact on young people, local communities and society as a whole.

“Sports-based initiatives are already successful, and to maximize impact and reach, we need to adopt a structured approach,” Coventry said, explaining the importance of joint investments, building the capacity of people and institutions, and sharing learning. “This approach is fundamental to Olympism365 strategythe IOC’s strategy governing our approach to enhancing the role of sport for sustainable development.

The side event provided an opportunity to highlight the “Sports Against Crime: Awareness, Resilience and Empowerment of Youth at Risk” (SC:ORE) project – a joint IOC-UNODC initiative aimed at supporting the effective use of sport in violence prevention. and crime, while enhancing the role of sports and the sports sector in building peaceful and safe societies.

“By mobilizing public authorities, civil society organizations in the criminal justice sector, the United Nations system, development banks and businesses, as well as national and regional sports entities and organizers of major sporting events, to jointly invest in sports-based interventions and policies, we will implement “It can generate a far greater impact on criminal behavior than enforcement alone, and can improve a wide range of health, educational and social outcomes.”

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