Time for transformative actions as April 6 is approaching
On April 6 people unite by one language and one belief: language of sport and conviction of a possible peace. In 2014 the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) became an annual celebration for the world of sport that highlights a wide range of development and peacebuilding efforts.
Following two successful editions of the IDSDP, I am pleased to see the participation of sport leaders, international and national sport federations, civil society leaders, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as many diverse individuals in the initiatives organized by Peace and Sport within the scope of April 6.
Since the first edition of the IDSDP, Peace and Sport has been mobilizing globally a lot of people and organizations that day. Through the #WhiteCard campaign and our digital platform (www.april6.org), we advocate transformative power of sport and its great potential that encourages healthier lifestyle. We also foster sport to be widely accessible, as well as we believe that it can be used as a tool for social change in areas affected by war, poverty and discrimination.
This year, on April 6, more than 200 projects and events will take place in 80 countries all around the globe. For instance, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has strongly encouraged its member federations to participate on “April 6” initiatives. Several International Sport Federations, such as the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the International School Sport Federation (ISF) and the International Surfing Association (ISA) have joined the global mobilization. The ITTF has registered more than 90 activities on the www.april6.org website.
Furthermore, the digital campaign “Let’s play for sustainable Development Goals” launched by the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace portrays the positive influence sport can have on the advancement of human rights, social and economic change. The National Olympic Committee of Portugal has organized a conference within the scope of IDSDP: “The insecurity in the world: Vulnerabilities, Risks and Threats in Sporting Events.”
I believe that in the core of “April 6”communicates the daily work carried out by the civil society across the globe. I congratulate and admire the tenacity and spirit of all organizations, which are trying to remove cultural, religious and political barriers in conflict and post-conflict zones. In that matter, several lectures and events will be organized. For example, the lecture “Using football for peace and development” that will take place in Liberia, and the “Ukrainian Biathle and Triathle of Peace” organized by the Ukrainian Modern Pentathlon Federation and the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.
I want to make one last call before “April 6” to mobilize, join forces and bring to light projects and events for peace and development through sport. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to develop initiatives that foster values of fair play, mutual respect, civic engagement and team spirit.
Every year, on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we have the chance to observe and inspire ourselves with the positive actions made by different actors. Furthermore, that day is a good moment for reflection about our involvement and contribution to global peace and social development. I encourage you all to ask yourself: “Are we doing enough? How can we contribute to end cycles of violence through sport?” I believe these questions are relevant for the advancement of human rights, peacebuilding, social and economic development.
To celebrate April 6, I invite you to unite around the symbol of a white card as a sign of your commitment to peace efforts worldwide. Regardless of your involvement in sport, the #WhiteCard campaign allows you to demonstrate a support for the peace through sport movement anywhere in the world.