After fifteen years of progress in the unprecedented Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world turned its attention to the successor Sustainable Development Goals in a period of transition to the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In a time of recapitulation of achievements and pending business around the eight MDGs (poverty eradication, universal primary education, gender equality, child mortality reduction, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, environment sustainability, and global partnership for development), the international community, led by the United Nations, undertook a thorough consultation process with all spheres of society and agreed on the following 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be pursued in the next 15 years. With the overarching aspiration of getting people and planet closer together and leave no one behind, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a unique opportunity to inspire global action for development worldwide, including the field of Sport for Development and Peace.
Sport has proven to be a cost-effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. Since the inception of the MDGs in 2000, sport has played a vital role in enhancing each of the eight goals, a fact which has been recognized in numerous Resolutions of the General Assembly. In the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sport’s role for social progress is further acknowledged:
“Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”
Driven by this milestone recognition and based on the past success of Sport for Development and Peace activities and programmes across multiple sectors, sport will continue to advance global development assisting in the work towards, and the realization of, the SDGs. The United Nations envisages sport to do so as an important and powerful tool with the potential to tackle challenges entailed in each of the 17 SDGs.