Sport a universal language, says Ban on first International Day

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“The power of sport to…” campaign for the International Day of Sport for Peace and Development 6 April 2014. ©UN Photo Shareef Sarhan

Sport is a universal language that unites groups and nations across divides.

That was Ban Ki-moon's message on Sunday, as the world celebrated its first-ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

Sport empowers youth, promotes good health and deepens UN values such as equality, mutual respect and fair play, he said.

The Secretary-General said it also helps the United Nations to spread messages of peace, drive social change and meet the global poverty goals or MDGs.

"This International Day will highlight the potential of sport to advance human rights, eliminate barriers and promote global solidarity. To reach our goals, we need all players on the field: governments, international organizations, the sport sector, civil society, and many others. I thank you for being part of this growing movement. Thank you for being part of the global team to harness the power of sport to build a better world for all. "

The UN General Assembly declared 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in late August 2013.

The adoption of the day, the UN says, is in recognition of the positive influence sport can have on advancing human rights and promoting social and economic development.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29”

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