Sport has been recognised as a low cost, high impact tool in humanitarium, development and peace-building. “Sport can no longer be considered a luxury within any society, but is rather an important investment in the present and future, particularly in developing countries.” United Nations.
Millennium Development Goals
In September 2003 a report by the United Nations (UN), Sport for Development and Peace: Towards achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs), concluded that sport contributes to the pursuit of the MDGs.
CROSS CUTTING TOOL
The United Nations system draws on the unique convening power of sport as a cross-cutting tool for:-
The mobilizing power of sport is often used as a ‘door-opener’ to convey crucial messages about HIV/AIDS, child’s rights, the environment, education, etc. Development and peace promotion: in grassroots projects sport is used in an extremely wide range of situations – whether as an integrated tool in short-term emergency humanitarian aid activities, or in long-term development cooperation projects, on a local, regional or global scale. Sport plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. Sport is a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice.
According to the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group, sport is seen to have the most benefits in:
- Individual development
- Health promotion and disease prevention
- Promotion of gender equality
- Social integration and the development of social capital
- Peace building and conflict prevention/resolution
- Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalisation of life
- Economic development
- Communication and social mobilisation.
From a development perspective, the focus is always on mass sport and not elite sport. Sport is used to reach out to those most in need including refugees, child soldiers, victims of conflict and natural catastrophes, the impoverished, persons with disabilities, victims of racism, stigmatization and discrimination, persons living with HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.