24 July 2020 - Tackling crime in and through sport, protecting the credibility of sport and enhancing the strategic partnership between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were the key issues discussed by the Executive Director of UNODC, Ghada Waly, and the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, who met virtually on Tuesday, 21 July 2020.
Ms. Waly said that “to build back better post-COVID, we need sport to achieve more inclusive, just and safe societies”. She underlined that sport is key in promoting gender equality and female empowerment, as well as the inclusion of vulnerable populations. She further stressed the importance of enhancing the credibility of sport by tackling corruption at all levels.
Mr. Bach also underscored the importance of protecting the credibility of the values of sport and “the positive role played by sport in terms of social inclusion, drug and violence prevention and rehabilitation”.
In parallel to the call, UNODC, IOC and INTERPOL, with the support of the Council of Europe, UEFA, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), organized a two-day virtual workshop for the Baltic aimed at tackling the manipulation of sport competitions.
Held on 21 and 23 July 2020, the workshop brought together over 40 registered participants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and served to highlight existing good practices and examples of how law enforcement, criminal justice authorities, sport organizations and related stakeholders can prevent, detect and sanction the manipulation of sport competitions.
Furthermore, the webinar aimed at promoting enhanced cooperation at national and regional level, identifying tools to mitigate risks related to the manipulation of sport competitions, and providing useful guidance on how to conduct effective investigations.
The values of Olympism are closely linked to the work conducted by UNODC since 2016 on using sport as a tool for peace and instilling positive values among young people worldwide.
Under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, UNODC has provided life skills training to 13,000 boys and girls from 12 countries with the overall aim of building their resilience to crime, violence and drug use.
Building on this work, on 2 July UNODC launched the Technical Guide on Preventing Violent Extremism through Sport, which provides comprehensive guidance for policy makers and practitioners on how sport and sport-based programmes can be effectively used to prevent violent extremism, in particular by promoting five areas of intervention: safe spaces, social inclusion, empowerment, education and resilience.
Much remains to be done to utilize the full potential of how sport can contribute to more peaceful societies.