The 6th of April was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in order to recognise the transformative power of sport and its great potential in advancing social change. Sport can also be used for community development, creating healthier lifestyles and as a means to foster understanding and peace globally. The date was chosen as it creates a historical link to the first modern times summer Olympic Games on the 6th of April in 1986.
The theme for this year is Sports for Sustainable Development Goals. Sport has been attributed to; ensure healthy lives- not only physically but also in creating healthy socialising, build on values such as teamwork and respect and not forgetting their benefits to career opportunities.
As a tool for the Sustainable Development Goals, sport has been seen to help in the following ways:
- Offer opportunities for the growth of the economy and create employment.
- It can serve as a platform to appreciate the diversity in different counties while tackling the issues of inequality in areas that are difficult to reach, because of its popularity.
- It serves as an empowerment tool for individuals by including communities, young people, women and people with disability.
- Sport advocates for environments that are safe and cohesive.
- It raises awareness with regard to equal rights to vulnerable groups, people with disabilities can gain help by removal of obstacles and barriers in the environment so that they can access physical activities and sport ones.
- Education programmes and public awareness campaigns that are sport-based can help teach people about climate change, sport can also promote conservation of the environment by promoting air that is clean and by the installation of air-pollution detectors.
These reasons, among many, serve as reason why sport is important for communities all around the world. The intrinsic values sport holds are understood globally and can be harnessed in the extension of a peaceful coexistence. It is a uniting force
The UN General Assembly made a decision to recognise formally, the role that sport plays and that it should serve as a call to action in providing encouragement local authorities, sports organisations, NGO’s and governments to put sport to work (International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education, 2014)