Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and wishes to make the following additional remarks in a national capacity.
Italy welcomes the adoption of today’s resolution and is proud to be among its co-sponsors. The strong consensus of the General Assembly demonstrates that the ideal of the Olympic Truce is alive and powerful. We must now translate this commitment into reality.
In a time of persisting instability and rising challenges, we applaud the message given by this resolution of sport as a means of prevention. In effect, this universal language can bridge gaps and promote the core values necessary for tolerance and lasting peace. On the playing field, cultural, linguistic, religious, social and ideological differences disappear. Also, we highly appreciate the emphasis of this year on vulnerable groups, like children, persons with disabilities, women and girls, and the need to engage them in the practice of sport for peace and development.
Italy is a strong believer in sport as a powerful tool and vehicle to promote peace and development and is proud to be part of the Group of Friends. This is also why in 2009 we actively supported the adoption of the resolution regarding the granting of observer status to the International Olympic Committee. More recently, last year, we organized here at the United Nations an event on “Children, Sport and Development” with the “Intercampus” program, a non-profit social initiative of the famous Italian soccer team F. C. Internazionale (Inter Milan), which provides assistance to needy children and young people in twenty-nine countries around the world. Its aim is to give back to these children their right to play. Through football programs, youths learn teamwork and the meaning of fair play and gain access to health and education services often absent from their own villages.
The main message of the event was that sport is a crucial means to promote sustainable development. It has already proven to be a cost-effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. Since the inception of the UN MDGs in 2000, sport has played a vital role in enhancing each of the eight goals. We are convinced that sport will be a powerful tool also to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that we have recently adopted.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon once said, “Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers.” It is with this spirit that we wish the best success to Brazil for the organization of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.