Physical Activity Communities > Sport & Development

What does sport have to do with development? In the development context, sport includes all forms of physical activity which contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, whether the sport is organized or unorganized. In 2002, in response to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Adolf Ogi, then Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace and UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy, set up the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace, consisting of representatives of several UN agencies to examine the role sport could play in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. As provided for in the Report from the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace, they concluded: “Sport presents a natural partnership for the United Nations system, as by its very nature, it is about inclusion and citizenship. Sport brings individuals and communities together, highlighting commonalities and bridging cultural or ethnic divides.”

The following briefly outlines the considerable potential of sport for different development-related areas that we hope will prompt users of this website to contribute further information to the resource hub.

  • Sport as a Positive Value
  • Social Integration
  • Peace Promotion/Conflict Prevention and Resolution
  • Gender Equity
  • Economic Development
  • Social Development
  • Mobilization and Communication
  • Sustainable Development

Sport constitutes a social classroom where teamwork, dealing with strong emotions such as victory or defeat, can contribute to learning core values and increase integration of marginalized groups into society, such as the physically challenged, immigrant, and refugee groups. It is a peace promotion and conflict prevention and resolution tool that can strengthen interaction between communities, people, and cultures. It is a health maintenance and health promotion tool that can reach children, adolescents, and young adults – encouraging them to take care of their bodies and offer positive role models. Sport can contribute to breaking down gender stereotypes and create opportunities for girls and women to increase their participation in public life. Sport is a great way to send messages and is a powerful advocacy tool for reducing violence and bullying, delivering health messages to many of the challenges faced by young people, like the danger of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and HIV. And sport is a catalyst for economic growth. It is a cross-cutting model, where in one aspect, sports is dominant, while in the other, development goals have precedence. This resource area will guide visitors to policies, research and reports investigating and promoting the connections between physical activity, sport and development.