UNESCO welcomes the first African team to race in the Tour de France

On 27 July 2015, UNESCO paid tribute to MTN-Qhubeka, the first ever African team to compete in the Tour de France. Jointly organized by UNESCO and the Embassies of South Africa and Eritrea in the framework of the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the International Convention against Doping in Sport, the event promoted sport values and integrity consistent with the Convention and the mandate of UNESCO.

Sport is a vector of tolerance, social cohesion and inclusion; it helps build healthy and clean societies. Engagement in sport enriches the life of individuals, their well-being and rounded development” as highlighted by Getachew Engida, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General.

The team’s manager, Douglas Ryder, supported this message while expressing his gratitude and highlighting the team’s achievements during their first Tour de France. Notably, Steve Cummings won the 14th stage during the Nelson Mandela Day (18 July) and Daniel Teklehaimanot wore the polka-dot jersey of King of the mountains.

The role of the African continent in sport and the global fight against was recalled by H. E. Mr Lejeune Mbella Mbella, President of UNESCO's Africa Group and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Cameroon to France, H. E. Mrs Hanna Simon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Eritrea to France, and H. E. Mr Rapulane Sydney Molekane, Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiary of South Africa in France.

Counting 182 States Parties, the Convention against doping is the second most ratified UNESCO instrument. Adopted in 2005, it provides a global legal framework for governments to deal with specific aspects of doping.