Geneva, Switzerland (UNOSDP) – The 8th edition of the Peace and Sport International Forum opened today in Monaco with a panel discussion on refugee crisis featuring the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke as the keynote speaker.
Organized annually since 2007, the Forum has established a solid platform for leading peace-promoters, where international sport movement, governments, public and private sectors come together to develop concrete steps to put sport at the service of global peace.
Along with other participants of the opening panel – H.E. Nadia Arop Dudi of the Ministry of Sports of the Republic of South Sudan, Mr. Pascal Boniface of IRIS, Mr. Philippe Leclerc of UNHCR and Mr. Wenzel Michalski of Human Rights Watch, the Special Adviser was challenged to devise ways to “Preserve Peace in a World in Motion” and tackle the issues faced by migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers through sport-based programmes and activities.
“Sport is an effective tool for social integration, particularly for young people, which can create routes into education and employment, improve physical and psychological health, encourage engagement in community life and cultural exchange”, said Mr. Lemke, mentioning as well the role of his office – the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace – in advocating for joint action of UN agencies, national governments, sport federations, business sector and civil society to implement quality sport initiatives in refugee camps.
In 2016, the UNOSDP will invite selected young refugees to participate in its flagship grassroots project, Youth Leadership Programme, to provide them with capacity enhancement opportunities and create a multiplier effect through train-the-trainer approach. The programme will provide displaced youth with a skill set that will empower them, through sport, to establish themselves as role models within their new communities.