Olympic Truce Resolution adopted with the most co-sponsoring states in the history of the United Nations
In an unprecedented show of support for the Olympic Truce, all member states of the United Nations General Assembly agreed to co-sponsor the Olympic Truce Resolution ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Olympic Truce Resolution attracted the most co-sponsoring states in the history of the UN, with all 193 member states cosponsoring the Resolution.
The Truce Resolution was formally submitted to the General Assembly by British Olympic middle distance Olympic champion and Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sebastian Coe, on behalf of the United Kingdom.
Introducing the text of the Truce Resolution to the UN General Assembly, Coe said the Resolution was grounded in the vision for the London 2012 Games to be a catalyst for long term positive change and to inspire young people.
The double Olympic 1500 metres gold medallist also delivered a message about the Truce from two young London Games supporters who attended the General Assembly meeting as members of the official UK delegation.
Coe told the Assembly that Amber Charles, 21, who delivered London’s official bid documents to the IOC in Lausanne in 2004, and Ali Mohamed, 18, who was voted the “Young Mayor of Newham”, one of the London Olympic host boroughs, represented London’s vision of the Games and for the Truce, and had asked him to deliver a message on their behalf to the Assembly.
The message from the two young Londoners said “The Truce helps to show the world that peace is a possibility. It shows the power that sport has to inspire unity, mutual understanding, and respect among different types of people…countries should feel an obligation to respect the Truce because it holds true to the idea that we can co-exist without the need for discrimination and fighting. It gives us something to strive towards outside of the Olympics and the arena of sport.”
Other members of the delegation included the British Ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, and the CEO of the London Olympic Games Organising Committee, Paul Deighton
Henry Bellingham, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who is responsible for the UN and Conflict Resolution, said: “I’m delighted that the Resolution has been co-sponsored by every single one of the United Nations’ 193 member states. This astonishing level of agreement shows that the Olympic Truce is more relevant to more countries than ever before.
No-one claims that conflict resolution is easy, but in line with the ideals of the Olympic Truce, we are committed to preventing and resolving conflict wherever we can in pursuit of long-term peace and stability around the world.
“For many people in Britain the idea of truce and sport is epitomised by the grainy black and white pictures of British and German soldiers playing football in the no man’s land of Flanders during World War One. The United Nations was born from the aftermath of conflict and today the countries of the United Nations have joined together to recognise the hope for peace at the heart of the Olympic idea.”
Coe said the strong international support for the Truce also reflected support for the timeless values symbolised by the Truce and by the Olympic Movement, and was a testament to the relevance of the Olympic values such as respect and friendship in a time of global challenges.
“The Olympic Truce and the Olympic values and the programs that support the Truce can play a role, in combination with the Olympic movement and sport in general, as tools for promoting peace,” Coe said.
The President of International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, said: ‘The IOC and the UN share many common values — a belief in equality, respect for others, a commitment to fair play and the rule of law. Our missions overlap. Both the IOC and the UN exist to serve humankind. Both seek to foster harmony between nations and cultures. Both strive to create a more peaceful, prosperous and environmentally sustainable world.’
Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said: “I am delighted that Government is supporting the Olympic Truce as we prepare to welcome the world to London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. I served as part of two UN peacekeeping missions and it is important that sport’s role in peacekeeping is recognised through this motion at the United Nations.”
Through the text, the Assembly called on States to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee in efforts to use sport to promote peace and reconciliation in conflict areas.
The text notes that the 1948 Olympic Games, held in London, inspired the staging of the first organised sporting event for patients with spinal-cord injuries, at Stoke Mandeville near London, heralding the birth of a new global sporting movement for athletes with a disability, leading to the establishment of the Paralympic Games and London’s plans to stage integrated and inclusive Games for Everyone in 2012.
The text also calls on the Secretary-General to promote observance of the Olympic Truce. Coe, who also led the London Bid for the Games, paid tribute to the work and support of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his officials – including the Special Representative for Sport for Peace and Development, Wilfred Lemke, and his team, who are working closely with the IOC President Jacques Rogge on new ways to use sport to develop communities and lay the foundations of peace.
“This deepening relationship gives a new depth and breadth of importance to initiatives like the Olympic Truce. Importantly, it provides the basis for greater international understanding and opportunities for greater collaboration among UN member states through sport-related programmes, which make a difference in the lives of young people and their communities,” Coe said.
The Truce resolution refers to the main themes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, as genuinely sustainable Games that deliver long-term social, economic, environmental and sporting benefits, helping to promote more stable, inclusive and peaceful communities, urban regeneration, addressing climate change, enhancing international relations and co-operation, and changing attitudes to disability, and to inspire young people around the world to enrich their lives through sport, for example through the establishment of London 2012’s international legacy programme – International Inspiration.
International Inspiration has already reached out to more than 12 million young people across 19 countries – all represented in the UN General Assembly – through a unique partnership involving UNICEF, National Olympic Committees and British Government agencies. Its fruits include improved sports systems in developing countries; higher school attendance; and enhanced educational performance. It has empowered girls and young women to participate in sport, access education and become community leaders. The programmes have also increased self-esteem and confidence to tackle the challenges of daily life, and raised awareness of HIV/AIDS and other threats to health.
The UK Government and LOCOG will work with the IOC, other member states and civil society to deliver further Truce-related activities, in the UK and around the world, ahead of the 2012 Games. These activities will reach out to people in different walks of life so that the ideals of the truce have a long-lasting positive impact. The UK’s international activities will be designed to help find local solutions to local issues and aim to contribute to longer-term peace and stability.
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