Opinion

Joël Bouzou
Peace and Sport President and Founder

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10/04/2016 par Joël Bouzou

Translating April 6 into real-world impact

In a compendium of achievements around the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) on April 6, the international community, activated by Peace and Sport, engaged in a successful global mobilization that shows how far peace through sport has come in such a short term.

Celebrations around April 6, with an aspiration of getting people together in their diversity, proved again that sport is a powerful tool in developing a cross-community dialogue around peace. In that sense, I am pleased to see that over the last three years, the peace movement through sport has gained more legitimacy.

To mark this year’s celebration of the IDSDP many sport leaders, international and national sport federations, civil society leaders, governmental and non-governmental organizations joined the Peace and Sport global movement through the #WhiteCard campaign. Furthermore, 300 projects from five different continents were registered in our digital platform (www.april6.org).

Thanks to the active participation of Champions for Peace, Peace and Sport has also been successful in fostering intercultural understanding and social inclusion. Over 44 Champions for Peace organized themselves this year to act more independently. For example, the rugby player, Jean-François Tordo arranged a rugby tournament in Madagascar with 200 children from seven different countries. Sergey Bubka, Olympic champion, Benjamin Boukpeti, first athlete from Togo to win an Olympic medal, and Yelena Isinbayeva, pole vaulter champion and Olympic Champion, played leading roles on April 6 activities. Chris Froome, Alexander Vinokourov, Blanka Vlasic and Elana Meyer were among the athletes that participated in #WhiteCard.

In this year’s edition of the IDSDP, a number of global leaders and decision makers also participated in the #WhiteCard campaign. For instance, Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, IOC members such as the International Triathlon Union President, Marisol Casado, and the representatives of national and international sport federations including the ISA, ITTF, ISF, FIE, UCI, LOA and FIH. For the first time the state’s representative – South African president Jacob Zuma – supported our efforts by posting a picture of him holding the #WhiteCard.

Considering the April 6 has passed, Peace and Sport is carrying now the responsibility to spread this peace message to relevant decision makers and international institutions. I believe there is high range of opportunities where governments, global leaders and policy makers can use the spirit of the movement in order to create positive global changes.

Moreover, I am convinced that the values of the IDSDP should be promoted during the whole year by the different national and international organizations. To do so, we need a leadership from sport and peacebuilding actors, as well as the willingness for dialogue and cooperation. Considering the movement of peace through sport is growing, we also need more resources that would lead to more transformative actions and sustainable projects.

To achieve real-world impact requires from civil society leaders, sport actors, politicians and stakeholders to adopt the values of sport and to behave as peacebuilding practitioners in their daily life. Peace and Sport is aware that the IDSDP and sport are not enough for a long lasting change, hence I advocate for multilayered and strategic partnership from different sectors for achieving peace and positive changes. Furthermore, it is important to train young people from their early age in sport values and leadership. Youth will play a relevant tool in the accomplishment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Consequently, I invite you all to be optimistic, to keep alive the spirit of the IDSDP the whole year and to take the leading role promoting peace and development through sport.

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