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Permanent Observer of the IOC to UN


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21 May 2010

[PRESS RELEASE] First UN-IOC Forum in Lausanne

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, today opened the first joint forum between the IOC and the United Nations (UN) at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The event, titled “The Importance of Partnership”, brings together sporting officials and UN representatives in order to leverage the IOC’s recently obtained UN observer status and strengthen cooperation in the field of development through sport.

Speaking at the opening session after Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, and Mario Pescante, IOC Vice-President and Permanent Representative of the IOC to the UN, President Rogge said: “The IOC and the Olympic Movement have a social responsibility to bring sport and its values to all fields of society. If sport on its own cannot drive this agenda, it can however exchange and partner with those whose responsibility and expertise is to make peace and drive national development, such as the UN.”

“The IOC and the UN have enjoyed very strong ties for many decades”, Rogge continued. “In recognition of the role sport can play in contributing to a better world, the IOC was granted observer status by the UN General Assembly last year. The aim of this Forum is to generate further action on the ground that contributes to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. We cannot change the world but we believe that, through sport, we can make better citizens”, he concluded.

The Forum, which will be held today and tomorrow, will be looking at the following areas:

- What (else) sport can do to support the Millennium Development Goals

- Targeting youth in development

- Gender equality

- Healthy lifestyle and promotion

- Peace-building and humanitarian assistance and actions.

- The way forward

In his opening speech, Mario Pescante said: “For the first time in modern history, sport has a voice within the most important of all international institutions, the UN. At a time when the world is faced with real threats, and the survival of nations and of mankind is linked to behavioural change, sport is being recognised as an important element in the search for solutions. This Forum, over and above an in-depth exchange of ideas, gives us the possibility to indentify projects and develop common policies in favour of young people, women, the disabled, disease prevention, human solidarity, and the fight against crime and violence. But the main objective cannot be any other than to give our contribution to sustaining the UN’s efforts in ensuring a peaceful world.”

Speaking on behalf of the UN, Wilfried Lemke said: “This forum is so important, in that it not only serves as a venue for discussing approaches to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it is also an example of us realising Goal number 8, which emphasises the creation of global partnerships. Through collaboration and partnerships between the UN System and the IOC, we can use sport to play a crucial role in achieving each of these important goals.”


About the UN Millennium Development Goals

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanised unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

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I was wondering why Pescante's name rang alarm bells, so after a quick look at his profile on the IOC site and a look at Jenning's 'New Lord of the Rings' I remembered...

Mario is one of the Wily Old Falangist's appointees, from the pre-Hodler scandal days. A colleague of Primo Nebiolo (ex-IAAF heavyweight) Pescante has had some nice little earners since 1994 (member of the executive board, IOC VIP, marketing committee to name but a few, plus was at one time investigated alongside Nebiolo for corruption relating to the 1990 World Cup (judged innocent).

So aside from WTF does the IOC still want to play quasi-autonomous state by getting observer status with the UN, it's also a bit of a clanger to have one of the old gang from Juan's day popping up in such a supposedly pivotal role. :unsure:

Unless Jacques is using this role to sideline a potential power broker and as a subtle means to wean CONI and the Italian's influence off the 2020 bid race ;)

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  • 1 year later...

IOC, UN and World Leaders Join Forces Against Deadly Diseases

(PRWEB) September 20, 2011

Speaking to a special session of the UN General Assembly, IOC President Jacques Rogge urged world leaders to expand the role of sport organisations in the fight against noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

The high-level meeting at the UN headquarters in New York (USA) brought together heads of state and governments; delegates from UN Member States; representatives from civil society; and heads of UN agencies to address a health risk that ranks as the leading cause of death worldwide. At least 63 per cent of all deaths are linked to heart attacks, strokes, cancers and other NCDs.


President Rogge outlined the many ways the Olympic Movement promotes healthy lifestyles. The IOC’s Sport for All Commission is at the forefront of efforts to encourage physical activity at all levels. One of the Commission’s initiatives - the annual Olympic Day celebration on 23 June - has proven to be an effective way to get young people more active in countries around the world.

To help put sport to work against NCDs, the IOC President urged meeting participants to:

* Advocate for more safe and accessible public spaces for physical activity and sport.

* Build new partnerships with sectors beyond sport — transport, finance, urban planning, industry and others — to expand the impact of sport in urban areas.

* Work with government authorities and educators to increase the amount of time that students devote to physical education.

* Encourage the development of sports infrastructures and sports organisations.

It was President Rogge’s first appearance before the General Assembly since the IOC gained official UN Observer status in late 2009.

“Many Member States and United Nations agencies or programmes understand the value of sport in promoting development, sustainability, health and the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals. Encouraging others to integrate sport into those efforts will bring us closer to making our goals a reality,” he said.

President Rogge’s visit to New York came on the eve of the 14th World Conference on Sport for All in Beijing (China), a high-level summit to promote best practices and share new ways to encourage physical activity, especially among young people.


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Speaking to a special session of the UN General Assembly, IOC President Jacques Rogge urged world leaders to expand the role of sport organisations in the fight against noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Just as long as he makes sure the athlete's village is well stocked with condoms.

Seriously, though. What's the IOC got to do with disease control?

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  • 4 weeks later...

UN General Assembly approves Olympic Truce for London Games

Maintaining a tradition rooted in ancient Greece, the United Nations General Assembly today called on nations around the world to observe an Olympic Truce for the 2012 London Games.

The UN Truce resolution, entitled “Building a better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, also urged nations to support the International Olympic Committee “in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport.” The General Assembly has approved a similar resolution before every edition of the Games since 1993.

The modern Olympic Truce was inspired by similar agreements that allowed competitors and spectators to travel safely to the ancient Olympic Games in Greece.

“The Olympic Truce is one small step for mankind, yet one giant leap for humanity,” Mario Pescante, the IOC’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, told the General Assembly before the vote, paraphrasing the first words uttered on the moon.

Pescante also cited several examples of sport’s ability to ease conflicts, including “ping pong diplomacy” between the US and China in the 1970s and the combined delegation of Olympic athletes from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea during the Opening Ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Games.

“This is not rhetoric; these are the chronicles of what we have seen during the event that is the Olympic Games, global like none other in these times of globalisation,” he said.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Games (LOCOG), formally submitted the resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of the United Kingdom. LOCOG and the UK have embraced the concept of the Truce and are using it as a learning tool. The London 2012 Olympic Truce Programme provides resources to every school and college across the UK to promote the goals of peace and tolerance that underlie the Truce resolution.

Coe said the strong international support for the Truce also reflected support for the timeless values symbolised by the Truce and by the Olympic Movement, and was a testament to the relevance of the Olympic values, such as respect and friendship, in a time of global challenges.

The UN resolution also reaffirmed the General Assembly’s decision to grant the IOC Permanent UN Observer status, noted the success of the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last year and expressed support for the first Youth Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck next January.

All the 193 UN member states co-sponsored the resolution.

Furthermore, the International Olympic Truce Centre has today announced the launch of the new Olympic Truce website and forum, www.olympictruce.org, with the slogan “Imagine Peace”, ahead of the London 2012 Games. The Centre is responsible for the implementation of projects related to the global promotion of a culture of peace through sport and the Olympic ideal.

Complete text of the resolution


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  • 1 year later...

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon receives Olympic Order

The 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development opened today in New York with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) honouring United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the Olympic Order.

The award was in recognition of the UN Secretary-General’s strong personal commitment to use sport as a tool for social change, a concept brought to life through various joint IOC-UN projects at community level. It was also under Mr Ban that the IOC received UN observer status in 2009.

The UN Secretary-General and IOC President Jacques Rogge delivered keynote speeches at the Forum, held for the first time at the UN headquarters.

President Rogge said: “As we meet here today, sport is at work for peace and development in countries around the world. Collaboration in this area has increased dramatically and involves a wide range of committed partners.” He added: “The relationship between the IOC and the UN goes back many years. Our organisations have two very different roles in society, but we share some core values.”




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  • 5 months later...

IOC President outlines his vision for the partnership between the worlds of sport and politics at the UN General Assembly



Assembly unanimously approves Olympic Truce for Sochi Games

Newly elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has outlined his vision of how sport and politics can work together to build a better and more peaceful world. He was speaking at the 68th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly today, where a resolution was adopted urging all member states to observe the Olympic Truce during the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, beginning next February.

Speaking at the Session in New York, President Bach emphasised the key role that sport can play in the service of society, by promoting fair play, tolerance and understanding, and by supporting health and education.

He underlined the position of sport as the only human activity where there are “universal laws” and a “global ethic”. And for this reason, he underlined the need to protect the autonomy of sports organisations around the world.

“Regardless of where in the world we practise sport, the rules are the same. They are recognised worldwide. They are based on a common ‘global ethic’ of fair play, tolerance and friendship", he said. For this reason, to apply what he called these “universal laws” politics must respect this sporting autonomy. Sport can hold its international competitions and promote its values only if this autonomy is understood and accepted, he told the Assembly.

President Bach said that the sporting world accepted that this autonomy must be practised “responsibly”, and that sport could never “operate in a law-free environment”. Indeed, sports organisations needed to “justify” their autonomy and demonstrate good governance. He said that the IOC had set a good example in this regard by demanding that the Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic Movement be accepted as a minimum standard at all levels of sport.

In exercising this autonomy, the IOC President stressed that the sports movement must remain politically neutral, but that this did not mean being “apolitical”: “Sport must include political considerations in its decisions. It must consider the political, economic and social implications of its decisions,” he said.

He then called on those in the audience to take back a message to their countries: “In the mutual interest of both sport and politics, please help to protect and strengthen the autonomy of sport.”

The concept of the Olympic Truce was introduced to the modern Olympic Games in 1992, and the UN General Assembly has adopted a similar resolution before every edition of the Games since 1993. But the idea of an Olympic Truce dates back to the 9th century BC, when warring states would suspend hostilities during the Games.

The President added that the Truce was a great example of how the world could work together in partnership. With the Olympic Games, the IOC was able to set an example of global peaceful interaction.

“The Olympic Games, the Olympic athletes and in particular the Olympic Village are a powerful symbol of this,” he said. “They break down the barriers of cultural differences. They serve as an example of mutual respect and non-discrimination.”

He underlined to those present the common principles shared by the IOC and the United Nations, but also pointed out that the values of sport can make a valuable contribution only if autonomy is respected and boycotts in sport are resisted.

“Precisely because many of our principles are the same, it must always be clear in the relationship between sport and politics that the role of sport is always to build bridges. It is never to build walls. Sports stand for dialogue and understanding,” he said, “which transcend all differences. Sport and the Olympic Movement especially understand the global diversity of cultures, societies and life designs as a source of richness. We never accuse or exclude anyone,” he added.

He called for the IOC and the United Nations to stand “side by side” in a partnership which could lead to even more fruitful cooperation, particularly in the areas of education, development, integration and building peace.

The resolution, entitled “Sport for Peace and Development: Building a Peaceful and Better World through Sport and the Olympic Ideal”, was formally submitted to the General Assembly on behalf of the Olympic Movement and the Russian Federation by Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee.

And the IOC President underlined that the Organising Committee is working with young people all over Russia as well as internationally to draw their attention to peace, tolerance and participation.

Closing his remarks, the President once again underlined the common shared values between the United Nations and the IOC, which was granted observer status by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

“Together with the political authorities, the IOC wishes to set an example for peace and solidarity in the quest for a more humane society,” he said. “Our partnership clearly illustrates that ‘Olympic principles are United Nations principles’.”

The Sochi Olympic Winter Games will take place from 7 to 23 February 2014 and be followed by the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games from 7 to 16 March 2014. The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games until seven days after the Paralympic Games.

Complete text of the resolution

Full text of President Bach’s speech


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