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Commonwealth youth initiative backs sport for development and peace
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Commonwealth youth initiative backs sport for development and peace

Credit: Suzanne Porter / Commonwealth Photographic Awards

Governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs across the globe are being urged to get behind a Commonwealth youth-led initiative to promote sport as a tool for national development and conflict prevention. 

The call from the newly established Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace working group, or CYSDP, comes on the occasion of the first ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace: 6 April 2014.

Clare Barrell, chair of CYSDP and representative for UK Sport, said: “Today is an important day to recognise not only the strides made by organisations in advocating for SDP [sport for development and peace] and demonstrating its role as a vehicle for development, but also to recognise the young people who work tirelessly as coaches, peer leaders, volunteers and facilitators.

“We want to say thank you for all that you do, and encourage organisations, governments and stakeholders to listen to young people, seek their feedback, their input and work together in shaping programmes, policies and practices.”

The CYSDP is calling on governments, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders across the 53-nation Commonwealth community to pledge their support for sport as a tool for achieving development and peace.

The working group is encouraging sports organisations to establish a functioning mechanism to involve young people in decision-making processes, such as national Olympic committees and sports federations or other bodies.

In addition, the group is urging organisations to develop, implement and engage in youth-centred research in sport for development and peace. Organisations should provide education and training opportunities so young people can become leaders and advocates for sport in their countries, for instance using a forthcoming CYSDP Advocacy Toolkit, the group says.

Established in May 2013, CYSDP is composed of 10 young people working in the field of sport for development and peace. The group’s vision is “to be the leading voice for youth in the Commonwealth towards promoting best practices towards sport for development and peace in their respective societies – by targeting young people and policy makers.”

The 6th of April 2014 was named as the date for the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by the United Nations General Assembly in August 2013. “Sport can be a powerful handmaiden for peace and reconciliation,” said Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, following the proclamation, as he noted that sport helps people to overcome ethnic, religious and economic divisions and combat prejudice, fear and misunderstanding.

“It can bring us closer through shared celebration of achievements of universal appeal and attraction,” Mr Jeremic said.
 

For more information, please contact:

Carl Konadu, CYSDP Working Group Co-ordinator  
c.konadu@commonwealth.int

 

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