Happy International Day of Sport for Development and Peace!

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is an annual celebration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development and to foster peace and understanding. To celebrate this day, even as we fight the COVID-19 epidemic, let's keep physically active, healthy and supportive of our communities: together we will prevail during this ordeal!

In 2013, the United Nations proclaimed April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. UNESCO, United Nations’ lead agency for Physical Education and Sport, believes that sports are a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality and youth empowerment, with benefits that are felt far beyond the stadiums. In fact, values acquired in and through sports – such as fair play and a team spirit – are invaluable to the whole of society.

Sports and play are human rights that must be respected and enforced worldwide. Sports have been increasingly recognized and used as a low-cost and high-impact tool in humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts, not only by the UN system but also by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, development agencies, sports federations, armed forces and the media. Sports can no longer be considered a luxury within any society, but rather an important investment in the present and future, particularly in developing countries.

 

Move Sports and the UN's Inter-Agency Games

Last year we honoured this day together with the 46th edition of the Inter-Agency Games, an annual sports tournament organised by UNESCO for employees of all UN agencies that Move Sports proudly had the chance to host in Portugal.

For three days, 1365 UN officials, 504 women and 861 men from 125 nationalities, working for 50 UN agencies were involved in a lively competition that took place in multiple locations around Lisbon. Grouped into teams by agency, from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to the International Labour Organization, UN officials competed in 13 sports. Some were popular, such as football or basketball; others are more unusual, such as cricket, pétanque or darts. There was also a prestigious chess competition for the organisation's brains.

Everything was handled with the utmost professionalism. A great success for UNESCO, an excellent promotion for Lisbon and Portugal, and a job well done for Move Sports.

Don't take it from us, listen to the UN's sports managers: Jong Chol, in charge of the Table Tennis competition, claimed these to be "the best IAG table tennis event we had so far. Everything was perfectly organised under your guidance and professionalism". Juan Caicedo Restrepo, the Swimming coordinator, said "this is the most professional and technical competition we have ever had in the IAG. The programming of the events electronically prior, during and afterwards (with results) was remarkable well organised". Fernando Hernández, the coordinator for the Football competition, granted us a big compliment: "I want to congratulate you and your entire team for the great logistical organization and for the careful and gentle attention you gave us. You did a great job and tended to us very, very well, Congratulations! We at UNESCO are grateful for a very pleasant experience and anxious to return to your country just for the pleasure of getting to know and enjoying all that Portugal has to offer."

To António Cunha, CEO of Move Sports, "this event coming to Portugal is proof not only of the country's ability to welcome more and more sports tourism customers but also of Move Sports's ability to organise large-scale corporate events of the highest qualitative requirements. Inter-Agency Games represents an economic impact of almost one million euros, an indication that sports tourism should be a future bet for Portugal".

We covered extensively this huge international and multi-cultural event in our Field Stories. Don't miss it:

 

Sports and physical activity during COVID-19 self-quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading to more countries and as such social distancing practices are becoming commonplace to stop the spread of the disease. Sports facilities of all kinds are now closed, meaning that many of us are deprived of our usual individual or group sporting or physical activities. 

To celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we must remain physically active, healthy and demonstrate solidarity during this period of physical and social distancing. It's this team spirit that will help us all get through the current challenge together!

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. WHO also have some tips on how to achieve this with no equipment and with limited space.

There is an abundance of free and accessible online and digital tools targeted at encouraging people of all ages and abilities to stay active and mobile while remaining at home. Try it!

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