The Guide has been designed by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) within the framework of the Global Programme on Security of Major Sporting Events and Promotion of Sport and Its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE).
Sport is universally recognized as a way to promote diversity, respect, tolerance and other values that support positive relationships between people, regardless of faith, race or culture. Beyond its capacity to unite people at local, national, and global levels, sport is increasingly used as a vehicle to empower women and men of all ages; to improve well-being and health, support education and social development objectives; and to strengthen the resilience of individuals and communities. Around the globe, the power of sport is being harnessed to support agendas for peace, development, and more frequently to PVE.
This Guide has been developed as part of the multi-year Global Sport Programme. The key objectives of the Programme are:
- To increase Member States’ awareness of terrorism-related threats against vulnerable targets in the context of major sporting events (MSEs) and their ability to protect them as a common good of humanity.
- To promote sport and its values to build resilience to violent extremism, especially among youth
- To support Member States to integrate sport-based initiatives within national action plans for PVE.
The seventh review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in its Resolution 75/291 of 30 June 2021, calls upon Member States “to strengthen efforts to improve the security and protection of particularly vulnerable targets, including religious sites, educational institutions, tourist sites, urban centres, cultural and sport events” (para. 71), and it “encourages Member States, United Nations entities, regional and subregional organizations and relevant actors to consider instituting mechanisms to involve youth in the promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance and intercultural and interreligious dialogue and develop, as appropriate, an understanding of respect for human dignity, pluralism and diversity, including through education programmes, as well as sports and physical activities, that could prevent and discourage their participation in acts of terrorism,
violent extremism conducive to terrorism, violence, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination.
Furthermore, it encourages Member States to empower youth through the promotion of opportunities and inclusiveness” (para. 19).
Purpose of this Guide for Policymakers
The purpose of this document is to guide senior officials and decision-making authorities in the adoption of sport-based policies to pursue PVE objectives. This will ensure the effective integration of sport in strategies and action plans dedicated to fostering resiliency to violent extremism. Based on input from the international community, available evidence-based practice, and a range of PVE and
sport-for-PVE reports and researches, this Guide functions as a resource for leveraging sport and its values to impact on behavioural skills and social cohesion, with the ultimate goal of violent extremism prevention.
Stakeholders and target audience
Developing and implementing effective sport-for-PVE policies requires the input and participation of a broad cross-section of Government and non-Government stakeholders to define needs, opportunities and priorities. The target audience is:
- National policy and decision-makers responsible for sport, education, social affairs, health matters, security and justice.
- Legislators and national sport-regulating agencies.
- Local authorities.
- Olympic committees.
- National, continental, and international sport federations.
- Civil society organizations.
- Human rights bodies.
- International, inter-governmental, and regional organizations.
- Development agencies and international cooperation funds.
- Youth and women’s associations.
- Private entities with a direct interest in sport.
- The media and communications sector.
By engaging these stakeholders in an inclusive and collaborative approach, policymakers can leverage critical resources and expertise for long-term impact of sport values-based activities as a contributor to national PVE objectives.
The Guide for Policymakers for the Use of Sport for the Prevention of Violent Extremism will be launched via the UNOCT’s Connect & Learn Platform, a tool connecting two communities of practice on the security of major sporting events (MSEs) and on the use of sport in PVE, in order to facilitate the exchange of good practices and sharing of expertise.
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