9 April 2018 - Sports offer a practical and cost-effective means to help prevent violence and crime, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in New York today.
He was speaking at the High-Level Event on Crime Prevention and Sustainable Development through Sports, opened by Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, and organized by UNODC and the Permanent Missions of Colombia, Italy, Monaco, Qatar and Rwanda to mark International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (6 April).
"Fair play, tolerance and team spirit - sports have a unique potential to help develop and reinforce positive life skills and values, and expand prospects," said Mr. Fedotov in his opening remarks.
"This event is a wonderful opportunity to further advance awareness of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, and its vital message. Let us take this chance to engage with sports champions and young men and women around the world. Working together, we can harness sport as a force for positive change."
The Executive Director highlighted the importance of major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup, saying they "have the power to inspire and build bridges".
"We must take these events as golden opportunities to raise awareness, to promote tolerance and respect, and advance efforts towards peace and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals," he said.
He also spoke about UNODC's work to promote sports as a means to empower young people, prevent violence and crime, and contribute to development, including through the Line Up Live Up life skills training curriculum.
Former NBA All Star basketball player Dikembe Mutombo, as well as Olympians and distinguished athletes, sports personalities, and representatives of Member States, civil society and international organizations are also taking part in the one-day event, which features interactive panel discussions focusing on the role of sport in promoting development and crime prevention strategies and programmes for youth and children.