Mr. President, the United States is pleased to have joined consensus on today’s resolution “International day of sport for development and peace.” We also welcome the presence in the hall today of distinguished members of the international sports community, in particular Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, and Mr. Larry Probst, president of the United States Olympic Committee.
The United States is home to a vast array of sporting communities and activities. Americans of every identity and background participate in sports, from backyard play and little leagues, all the way to professional and international competition. That diversity and universality of participation is what makes sport the opportunity to advance development and peace, as noted in today’s resolution.
Mr. President, the United States delegation is particularly pleased to see that the resolution emphasizes the importance of “safeguarding human dignity without any discrimination whatsoever.” Part of what makes sport so important is that it promotes inclusiveness, bringing together people of different age, race, religion, social status, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Sport crosses all segments of society and is instrumental in empowering people of diverse backgrounds and identities, while fostering tolerance and respect for all people, no matter what they look like, where they worship, or whom they love.
At the recent Forum on Sport for Development and Peace co-hosted by the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee in early June, there were many examples cited of sport being used to promote positive social change, development, and conflict resolution. The United States recognizes that sport diplomacy is a valuable means to strengthen cultural relations among nations. Through our “SportsUnited” program, thousands of people from over one hundred countries have participated in sports and cultural exchanges.
The further use of sport as an educational tool has long been underestimated, and with the introduction of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we can further extend the good work that happens around development and peace through sport, provided we build upon the universality that lies at the core of sport’s appeal to citizens of all our countries.
Thank you, Mr. President.