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EAA and UNESCO to co-operate for the benefit of young people in Europe


UNESCO and the European Athletic Association (EAA) and the concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on the eve of the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. This Memorandum will provide a framework for joint projects to serve society and strengthen European Athletics.
The aims of the relationship include increasing participation in athletics and the understanding of the benefits of the sport by young people. The two organisations will form a joint working group to develop a long-term agenda of athletics-based projects in areas such as physical education, skills development and inter-cultural dialogue, which will be piloted in Europe and subsequently rolled out to other parts of the world.

In their first joint activity under the agreement, representatives of the EAA and UNESCO will participate in the European Youth Forum on 6-9 August. The forum, hosted by the City of Gothenburg and the championship organisers, brings together 120 athletics leaders aged 18 to 25 from more than 30 European countries to discuss the future of their sport, their own roles and how the sport impacts society.

EAA President Hansjörg Wirz said: "This agreement is an important step in the EAA's strategy to broaden the scope of its activities, engage more young people and increase the relevance of athletics within society. Athletics has the power to change lives and can be a force good in the modern world. European Athletics and UNESCO share many values and have a common view of the contributions athletics can make. I believe together we will develop quality projects that will help both organisations achieve their aims.”

UNESCO Deputy Assistant General for External Relations and Cooperation Jim Kulikowski stated: "The sport of athletics can be a powerful vehicle for peace helping to forge closer relations, mutual respect and understanding between people of all ages and walks of life. It also contributes to development as an integral part of life long learning and is a means to deliver UNESCO's goal of Education for All. Elevation of the role of physical education and sport within the school curriculum will be a primary goal of the new relationship with EAA. UNESCO has a strong focus on increasing the participation young people and building of ethical values, and this agreement with EAA provides an essential opportunity to engage European youth".

Olympic gold medalist and pole vault world record holder Sergey Bubka, a UNESCO "Champion for Sport" since 2003, welcomed the agreement. "I am pleased to see this new relationship between the sport that meant so much to me as I was growing up and an organisation whose work I have been supporting for some time now,” he said. “Athletics has so much to give and if working together can bring benefits to more young people I will be delighted.”

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Photo: Carolina Klüft (Sweden) - Heptathlon on 1st day of European Athletics Championships / © EAA
Publication Date 08-08-2006 7:00 am
Publication Date 08-08-2006 7:00 am
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