Vancouver Winter Games will strengthen UN-Olympic collaboration
11 February 2010
Thursday 11 February 2010, Vancouver, Canada – The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will kick off tomorrow night in Vancouver, marking the start of 16 days of intense competitions and celebrations, including a series of events where the United Nations family will celebrate its growing bonds with the Olympic family.
On Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement: the Olympic Truce "draws attention to a terrible paradox. At the Olympics and throughout the year, we rightly honour the outstanding achievements of the human body and the positive social values of competitive sport, including team spirit and fairness. Yet all too often, through the carnage of war, we do damage to that same human body, and to our shared values.”
At the Olympics and throughout the year, we rightly honour the outstanding achievements of the human body and the positive social values of competitive sport, including team spirit and fairness. Yet all too often, through the carnage of war, we do damage to that same human body, and to our shared values.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
On Monday as well, the President of the UN General Assembly also made a Solemn Appeal to the Member States for the observance of a truce during the Games. On 19 October 2009, the General Assembly had adopted the biennial Olympic Truce Resolution, coinciding with the send-off of the Olympic Torch.
That same day, a great step forward in the longstanding collaboration between the UN and Olympic families was made when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was granted Observer Status at the General Assembly.
UN Activities at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver
In Vancouver, this collaboration will deepen through the involvement of several UN agencies and the presence of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke. “The 2010 Games are a great occasion to further strengthen the already close and productive relationship between the UN and Olympic families,” Mr. Lemke declared.
Tomorrow morning (Friday), he will highlight the contribution sport can make towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals at a high-level panel discussion organized by the NGO Right to Play, the University of British Columbia and Merck, with the support of the Vancouver 2010 Education Program.
On Saturday night, Mr. Lemke will host a dinner on behalf of Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), gathering officials – including Canada’s Minister of the Environment – and partners that have made a contribution to the greening of the Vancouver Games. UNEP and the IOC have been in partnership since 1994 when they signed an Agreement of Cooperation to incorporate environmental issues in the Olympic Games (more information here).
In total, 15 UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies have established agreements with the IOC, for example the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). As part of its long-standing partnership with the IOC, UNAIDS has helped develop a toolkit on HIV for athletes participating in the Vancouver Games.
HIV education, prevention and awareness packages (containing male condoms) will be distributed to volunteers, workers and athletes as well as at outside venues (hospitality houses, hotels and bars). HIV counseling will be offered at the Olympic Polyclinics, and a public service announcement on HIV-related stigma and discrimination will be disseminated in the Village News over electronic billboards and in the Athlete Villages, as well as through the electronic media, including websites, blogs and You Tube.
‘Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce Northern Outreach Project’
Last month, as part of the ‘Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce Northern Outreach Project’, created by VANOC in partnership with the Canadian Forces and the United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC), 20 boxes filled with sporting goods were donated to children in 20 Aboriginal communities located in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, some of Canada’s most remote places.
Along with the donated equipment, UNAC sent a UN facilitator to hold workshops in each of the 20 communities to teach youth to inspire and educate others about physical activity and the values of sport.
Special Adviser's Meeting with Ban Ki-moon
Before heading to Vancouver, Mr. Lemke visited the UN Headquarters in New York where he met with Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. He briefed him on his activities since their last meeting in October 2009, and they also discussed the UN family's activities during the 2010 FIFA World Cup that will take place in South Africa from 11 June -11 July 2010.
Next month, Mr. Lemke will return to Vancouver for the Paralympic Winter Games, where a number of UN actors will also be actively engaged, in particular around the promotion of the rights of persons living with disabilities.
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Advocacy and Communications Officer
UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace
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