Sport and Physical Education Ministers meet at UNESCOMinisters of sport and physical education from more than 90 countries will meet this week at UNESCO Headquarters for a round-table discussion on strengthening sport in schools, protecting young athletes and international action to stamp out the use of drugs in sport. About 200 representatives of NGOs from around the world and from UNESCO Member-States will also take part.
The meeting will be held over January 9 and 10 (Room XII). The opening ceremony (January 9, from 9.15–10.15 a.m.) will be attended by Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, French sports minister Jean-François Lamour and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.
The first session will discuss Strengthening physical education and sport in the educational environment (10.30 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3- 4.15 p.m.). The second will be on Protection of young athletes (4.30–6.30 p.m.) and the third on Drafting an international legal instrument to combat doping in sport (January 10, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m). The final declaration of the meeting and the closing ceremony will take place on the afternoon of January 10 (3.30–6 p.m.
The round-table is part of the follow-up to the Declaration of Punta del Este, adopted at the 3rd International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS III), held in Uruguay from November 30 to December 3, 1999). At that meeting the ministers expressed concern that despite the growth of high-level sport and sport-for-all programmes, physical education in schools was on the decline in many countries. They linked this trend with a sharp increase in juvenile delinquency and violence and a rise in medical and social costs. The ministers now want to propose measures to promote regular lifelong physical and sporting activity all over the world, according to the capacity, needs and traditions of each country.
The MINEPS III conference also highlighted the risks to children of overly intensive sport and early specialization. They deplored the practice of “buying” young athletes from developing countries and excessive commercialisation, which they said created situations that went against sporting ethics and human dignity. The round-table participants this week will be considering how to protect young athletes and their rights, especially through a “code of good conduct.” They hope UN bodies such as UNICEF and the ILO will address these issues.
The ministers at MINEPS III also discussed the problem of doping, which threatens the practice of sport and puts athletes at risk of physical harm. They noted that laws to fight doping at national, regional and international level had no inter-governmental legal force worldwide. The round-table participants will discuss the need and the aims of such an international standard-setting instrument, how it could be drawn up and who would implement it.
The meeting will include presentation of three International Fair Play awards (on January 9 by the International Fair Play Committee) to: Simone Moro (Italy), climbing (Pierre de Coubertin Trophy, fair play gesture); Eusebio Ferreira da Silva (Portugal), football (Borotra Trophy, sporting career); and Kipchoge Keino (Kenya), long-distance running and humanitarian aid (Willi Daume Trophy, promoting fair play).