The United Nations Inter-Agency Games (IAG) was initiated by UNESCO in 1968 with the purpose to enable the staff members of the agencies and organizations of the United Nations family to know each other through sports meetings and thereby to improve mutual understanding and working relations.
Responsibility for the Games lies with a Control Commission (composed of two representatives of each participating organization) which establishes the General Rules of the Games and the Competition Rules of the fixed disciplines. Since 1968, there has been an increasing momentum from 5 disciplines and some 350 participants to 11 official disciplines and more than 1200 participants from over 10 UN agencies (UNO, UNESCO, WHO, FAO, UNIDO, UNICEF, WIPO, IAEA, WFP, ILO etc.).
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS INTER-AGENCY GAMES 2008?
UNESCO organizes the IAG every fourth year. For the year 2008, UNESCO wants to contribute to raising awareness about the importance of sustainable development in sport and promote awareness and educate the IAG members of the importance of a healthy environment and sustainable development.
The practice of sport and physical activity carries certain effects and has a certain impact on the environment. The effect and nature of the impact on the environment is circumstantial depending on the type of physical activity and sport practised. Environment has become now the third pillar of the Olympic Movement, alongside sport and culture. This means environmental considerations are going to underpin the sporting and cultural aspects of all future Summer and Winter Olympic Games. For instance, the Final Declaration from the 7th World Conference on Sport and the Environment (25-27 October 2007 in Beijing, China) recognized “the interdependence between a clean, healthy environment and the proper conducting of sport and recreation activities and events of all scales, as a healthy environment is vital for sport and athletes, and the world sports community should conduct its activities in a socially responsible manner including environmentally sustainable practices.” Sport is intimately connected to nature. A healthy environment is necessary for healthy sport.
For these reasons and in the framework of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014) for which UNESCO is the lead agency, the UNESCO Inter-Agency Games Committee has agreed to organize the 2008’s IAG under the general motto “When sports and sustainability team up for a better world”.