Magglingen declares sporting vision

The Abidjan project, "Droit au Sport", shows how sport can contribute to development. M. Reisle

The International Conference on Sport and Development has drawn to a close, with delegates signing a declaration and several dozen recommendations.

This content was published on February 18, 2003 minutes

The proposals, based on three days of discussion at the Swiss federal office for sport in Magglingen, will be presented to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the end of March.

As Annan's Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, former Swiss sports minister Adolf Ogi presented the two documents on Tuesday, urging delegates to take "the spirit of Magglingen" home with them and "spread the message of the conference around the world".

That message is likely to be a lengthy one, with no less than 76 recommendations included in the draft of proposals produced in the conference workshops.

The declaration itself is a good deal more concise, with eight key arguments ranging from the importance of physical education in schools to the need for ethical practices in the sports goods industry.

Emphasis is also placed on the way sport can help to heal damaged societies and individuals, and the need to ensure fairness in sport, without drugs or doping.

Vague goals

Despite pre-conference promises to deliver concrete proposals, few of the ideas contained in the two documents seem to represent precise demands or targets.

Ogi insists, however, that the Magglingen delegates have taken a significant step towards increasing the profile of sport in the world at large.

"It's a task that has to be done in several phases," Ogi added. "I always said that the first stage was to explain the potential role of sport and to motivate people.

"With this declaration I think we have now reached the end of that first stage, because everyone should now understand the significance of sport.

"The second phase is all about implementation, which begins with the presentation of the Magglingen papers to Kofi Annan. He can then give the necessary push and tell the various UN agencies to implement the ideas."

UN resolution

Ogi confirmed that a further goal could then be the passing of a resolution by the UN's general council, based on some of the ideas contained in the Magglingen documents.

"Such a resolution - possibly in 2004 - would certainly prove that sport is important and worthy of consideration at all levels."

While the tabling of UN resolutions is not within Ogi's direct capability, the former Swiss cabinet minister was able to make one very clear promise about the future of the debate.

He told the conference that a follow-up event would be organised back in Magglingen in two years' time, with the aim of assessing the impact of the past three days' discussion.

The final whistle may have been blown on the inaugural Magglingen conference, but it seems the trickier challenge of implementation is only just kicking off.

swissinfo, Mark Ledsom in Magglingen

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