Speaking to more than 500 guests gathered at UN headquarters, Mr. Annan formally accepted the report from Adolf Ogi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Development and Peace, and thanked him for his “passionate belief in the power of sport to transform lives.” “Our task now is to take our mission to the next stage, and make sport an essential component of efforts to reach the world’s development goals – as reflected in the General Assembly last November and the Magglingen Call to Action in December.” “That means ensuring full support from Governments and from the UN system for programmes using sport as a tool for development and peace – from the fight against HIV/AIDS to the empowerment of women and girls, from mine action to the reconstruction of societies emerging from conflict.” According to a UN news release, the Report on the International Year of Sport and Physical Education 2005 (IYSPE 2005) highlights the worldwide achievements of last year and the significant role that sport can play in accelerating progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The MDGs are a set of targets seeking to slash a host of socio-economic ills. “Sport is a vital tool to make a better world. We want healthy, educated citizens on every continent. We want development. And we want peace. We can achieve these goals through sport. The fundamentals are there, the momentum is there,” said Mr. Ogi. Thousands of activities commemorating IYSPE 2005 were initiated worldwide, including sports events, conferences and projects using sport to further health, education, development and peace. The International Year also provided a strong impetus to efforts to better integrate sport into the development agenda as well as into efforts to achieve lasting peace, the release stated. UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson also received a copy of the IYSPE 2005 report at today’s ceremony, and several officials, diplomats and international sports personalities gave speeches supporting last year’s events and stressing the need to build on the achievements. Among the speakers was Roger Federer, the number one tennis player on the ATP circuit and also one of the official spokespersons for IYSPE 2005 who was appointed today as the newest Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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