Against a backdrop of global conflicts, economic uncertainty and a changing climate, the General Assembly today recognized the power of sport to expand sustainable development and inspire young people around the planet with the adoption of a consensus resolution.
Adopting the text, titled “Sport as an enabler for sustainable development”, delegates laid out the ways in which sport can be used to help young people improve their lives while generating cooperation among nations.
Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, said the international community must include sports and athletes in its work to carry out the changes that transform the world, pointing out that sports bring people together in peaceful conditions and can help combat some of the greater dangers facing humankind. Noting that the World Cup is underway, he said both male and female athletes are role models for millions of young people. It is more promising if nations compete on the fields of sports rather than on battlefields. “The former is more noble and the latter leaves death and devastation behind,” he said, encouraging all Member States to preserve the unifying spirit of sports and the Olympic Movement.
In introducing the resolution, the representative of Monaco pointed to sport’s potential as a catalyst for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. He noted the text refers to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ guidance notes on fighting climate change through sport. The resolution also points out that the sport sector can reduce its own carbon footprint by adopting sustainability standards and raising awareness.
Egypt’s delegate said sport promotes mutual understanding amongst peoples, celebrates cultural diversity and eases dialogue, which is particularly important in a world facing ongoing complex challenges. Sport can also be used to maintain physical and mental health in societies — especially amongst youth. His Government, for example, sponsors and encourages sport activities, develops the skills and talents of children and promotes youth centres. These facilities include innovative platforms for activities outside sport, such as technical and vocational education programmes and employment training. Such efforts ensure that youth are fully integrated into national development, he added.
Agreeing that sport is an effective way to engage youth in a positive and constructive manner, India’s representative said sport teaches discipline, develops camaraderie and enhances communities by bringing people together. “Indeed, sports play a subtle, positive and constructive role in development and peace,” he said. His country’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports lays down the policy framework and institutional support for sports-related activities, while the Sports Authority of India, established in 1984, is the principal body for nurturing talent and providing infrastructure, equipment and coaching.
Senegal’s representative, associating himself with the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, welcomed the outstanding work of the International Olympic Committee, including its efforts to promote gender equality, empower women and improve lives through high-quality sports infrastructure. Sport is a vector for many positive values and “a real school of life” that helps everyone reach their potential, he said. In 2026, Senegal will host the Youth Olympic Games, the first time that the event will take place in Africa, reflecting the country’s goal to integrate sports into its development programmes.
Encouraged by the Assembly’s unity on the resolution, the Permanent Observer of the International Olympic Committee said stronger collaboration between the Olympic community and the United Nations system can advance the global goals by using sport in such areas as peace, health, education, gender equality and climate action. In a polarized world, there are few occasions when humankind can set aside its differences and come together in peace, he said, adding that the Olympic spirit is the most important symbol of peace in today’s world. He welcomed that the draft resolution specifically highlights that international sporting events should be organized in a spirit of peace and without discrimination of any kind.
The Emir of the State of Qatar’s opening speech at the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup was an eloquent response to the unfair, selective, racist, condescending and politicized campaigns which targeted Qatar’s organization of the sporting event, that country’s representative said. Her delegation will focus on humanity by building strategic partnerships and expanding international cooperation mechanisms to spread a culture of tolerance and peace. She also pointed to the launch of a campaign on the global goals on the sidelines of the World Cup.
In other business, the Assembly extended its seventy‑seventh session, upon request of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), as well as the work of that Committee, until Friday, 23 December.
Also speaking today were representatives of the Maldives, Singapore, China, Kuwait, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Bahrain.
The representative of the United States spoke in explanation of position.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 6 December, to discuss the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance and the Secretary-General’s related reports, and to consider action on draft resolutions. The Assembly will also take action on a draft resolution under the topic “culture of peace”.