The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace highlights the role sport can play in achieving sustainable progress and change. Sport has the power to help develop the potential of individuals, communities and nations. It encourages personal growth, is a major force in eliminating gender barriers and can build bridges across lines that might otherwise divide. Sport nurtures society by creating a culture in which fundamental values such as equality, the acceptance of rules, mutual respect and fairness are appreciated.
It helps the more vulnerable groups in society, especially young people and persons with disabilities, to enjoy their human rights, including safe opportunities to engage in physical education programmes and sporting activities. This contributes to their inclusion in society and increases their motivation to attend school.
The sporting industry, for its part, has a significant role to play in promoting environmental awareness and sustainable practices.
I commend athletes across the world for supporting the United Nations in our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. There have been many remarkable gains, but there remains much to do.
As we prepare a new development agenda for the period beyond the year 2015, including a set of Sustainable Development Goals, I will continue to look to sportsmen and women to be advocates for building a better world for all.
On this International Day, let us pledge to strengthen the role that sport plays in communities around the world. We need to have everyone on the team: governments, international organizations, NGOs and many others.
Let us use sport to help create a healthier, happier and more prosperous world for all.