Sport for a better world: international sports federations and international organisations working together in the heart of the Olympic Capital

Press release, 05.10.2017

Today in Lausanne more than 130 representatives of international organisations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), international sports federations (IFs) and civil society discussed strategies and possible forms of collaboration to implement the Sustainable Development Goals through sport.

Ambassador Valentin Zellweger (right) with Ms. Anna-Karina Kolb, Director of federal and external affairs for the Republic and Canton of Geneva, Mr Philippe Leuba, Chief of the Department of economy, innovation and sport for the Canton Vaud, Mr Christophe De Kepper, Director general of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Mr David Chikvaidze, Chief of Cabinet, United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) © Jean-Bernard Sieber/ ARC

The importance of sport in society was officially reaffirmed when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. Sport is recognised as an "important partner" and as such it is necessary to fully integrate sustainability into all IOC and Olympic Movement activities. This is an important undertaking that has just begun, since the IOC's sustainable development strategy was adopted in March 2017. It is thus important that these opportunities for exchange be used as a platform for work, skills development and partnerships specific to the sport and sustainable development strategy. 

Says IOC President Thomas Bach, “The IOC's sustainability strategy will form the basis for defining working practices in the IOC, at the Olympic Games and within the Olympic Movement”. 

With regard to the UN and its specialised agencies, work is being carried out on the ground on a daily basis to develop policies and programmes that include sport in thematic areas such as poverty, health, well-being, education, gender equality, non-discrimination, economic growth, decent work, housing and cities, and biodiversity in a context of harmonious and sustainable development.   

The Lausanne seminar brought together numerous international sports organisations of all sizes, sports and humanitarian NGOs, as well as international organisations and agencies of the UN system. With the help of the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva and the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS), work was done to:   

  • Improve the coherence and effectiveness of collaborative action
  • Strengthen knowledge of the different partnerships within the United Nations system, the IOC, IFs, and other relevant actors and their respective activities in this regard
  • Provide resources, practical tools and information to better achieve common goals
  • Encourage the creation of new partnerships 

Practical tools were made available and exchanged, new knowledge clusters were identified, and a training initiative was launched with local partners, international organisations and UN agencies. 

Says Philippe Leuba, State Councillor in charge of the Department of Economy, Innovation and Sport (DEIS) of the Canton of Vaud: "The cantons of Vaud and Geneva, under the aegis of the Métropole lémanique agreement, strongly support the organisation of this type of meeting. Indeed, it is our duty as governments to encourage any initiative that brings together all the actors from world sport and International Geneva to help develop and pool a network of expertise that is conducive to the achievement of sustainable development objectives." 

This seminar is part of a process initiated three years ago by the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, brought together under the aegis of the Métropole lémanique agreement and the Swiss Confederation. It aims to develop synergies between the various international players in the Lake Geneva region. The unique concentration of key players in the fields of international cooperation, sport and sustainable development provides genuine major potential for reflection and joint work on the societal issues of our time. 


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For more information, please contact :

Paola Ceresetti, spokesperson FDFA, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the other International Organizations in Geneva, Phone: 079 240 19 18