UN75 Dialogue with Sports People: "Building the future we want"
“As athletes and sports people, how often do you come across an opportunity to express your opinion or belief on how the problems of our world can be resolved? Have you even been asked about the world you want in the future? Today, you have the time to tell us. Your voice needs to be heard and it will be heard.” - NISHA, UNESCO Director of Office and Representative to the Pacific States.
In a world rife with strife and rancor, striving to envision a golden future poses a challenge. The United Nations in its capacity as a global intergovernmental organization, aims to eradicate misgivings and uncertainties and lead us to build and achieve “the future we want.”
In cognizance of its 75th anniversary in 2020, the United Nations has launched the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of global cooperation. With this scheme, people all over the world will have the chance to discuss the prevailing concerns of this generation- climate crisis, inequality, new patterns of violence, changes in technology, among others- and provide their own cents of wisdom for solution.
Quoting a statement from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “No country, no community is able to solve the complex problems of our world alone. We need to come together. Not only to talk, but also to listen.”
In contribution to this global dialogue, UN Samoa, in partnership with Marist St. Joseph’s Sports Club hosted the UN75 Dialogue with Sports People, following the theme ,”The world we want, the UN we need- Leaving no one behind” last 13 February 2020.
This event created a platform for the UN to hear from sports people (including women and people with disabilities) about the world they want and the UN they need. Representing the United Nations team in Samoa, NISHA, UNESCO Director of Office and Representative to the Pacific States opened the program with a speech of inspiration and encouragement to the athletes on their role as “agent of social change and a driver of sustainable development.”
“As athletes and sports people, how often do you come across an opportunity to express your opinion or belief on how the problems of our world can be resolved? Have you been asked about the world you want in the future? Today, you have the time to tell us. Your voice needs to be heard. It is the fundamental cause of today’s dialogue,” Ms. NISHA said.
Further, Ms. NISHA stressed that through Sports, women were able to break barriers, social inclusion and equality for everyone was promoted even with people with disabilities, and more employment pathways and income sources opened.
“Sports holds the power to transmit our messages towards ensuring that we achieve the SDG and we leave no one behind,” Ms. NISHA stated.
The views and ideas that would be exchanged during the event, Ms. NISHA said, would be presented to the world leaders and senior UN officials at a high-profile event during the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020. They would also be disseminated online through partners on a regular basis.
“Your views and ideas shared today, will shape our world in the future,” Ms. NISHA said.
The rest of the program was spent on athletes and officials’ participation in group dialogue and presentations of social concerns: root causes of the problems in society; economic and social impacts of these problems; putting the problems in the “Spotlight”, the UN initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls; and solutions through sports.
Further messages were filmed which focused on ending violence against women, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, athletes with disabilities, male athletes on ending violence against women, immunization rights (rights of the child), sports leaders on sports and youth employment, and good health and wellbeing.
The Marist 7s Tournament is one of the most watched and most supported 7’s Tournament in the Pacific involving countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji and it was an opportunity for great UN exposure and community engagement to ensure that UN visibility.