Two members of the United States Sports Academy’s Board of Visitors recently participated in an international conference of global sport leaders dedicated to increasing the positive impact of sport and physical education on sustainability and improved quality of life throughout the world.
Dr. Giovanni Di Cola and Dr. Tomas Ganda Sithole attended the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI), held in Kazan, Russian Federation, from 13 to 15 July 2017.
Di Cola serves as Special Advisor in the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Sithole, of Zimbabwe, is Secretary General of African Sport and former Director of International Relations for the International Olympic Committee. Sithole’s daughter, Tafadzwa Sithole, is a doctoral candidate at the Academy.
Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), MINEPS VI involved representatives from more than 100 countries who adopted the Kazan Action Plan, a global sports initiative focused on three main themes:
- developing a comprehensive vision of inclusive access to sport for all and developing measures to promote wider access to sport;
- maximizing the contributions of sport to sustainable development and peace, including using sport as a tool for creating sustainable employment; and
- protecting the integrity of sport from politicization and propaganda.
Di Cola spoke to the conference on the topic of enhanced employability and sustainability through skills developed through sport and physical education, and his recommendations were integrated into the Kazan Action Plan.
“According to the World Economic Forum, 60 percent of companies are unable to find the right skills on the global labor market,” Di Cola said.
“ILO research on development of skills through and in sports pointed at the importance of soft and employability skills in sporting value chains and the relevance of such skills for labor market entrance.
“I would certainly emphasize the role of academies and UN agencies in widening the scope of education in sport across the entire value chain of mega sporting events and other socio economic sectors related to them.
“The above requires specific sets of skills while offering the opportunity to develop other skills which are still not sufficiently covered by existing training programs.
“The United States Sports Academy, together with other partners like ILO, has developed training tools which now can be implemented under the Declaration of Kazan throughout.”
For the full Kazan Action Plan, go to http://en.unesco.org/mineps6/kazan-action-plan.
MINEPS is the only global platform of its kind, engaging governments, intergovernmental organizations, the sport movement, academia and specialized non-governmental organizations. The outcomes and recommendations of MINEPS are continuously strengthening the educational, cultural and social dimensions of physical education and sport while guiding the implementation of effective policies and practices around the world.
UNESCO is responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. World conferences of sport ministers have been organized by UNESCO six times since 1976. The conferences are intended to take stock of global developments in sport and to formulate strategic issues in international sport policy, with special reference to UNESCO’s International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport; the Declaration of Berlin; and the United Nations Agenda 2030/Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2016, the United Nations began implementing the 17 SDGs of its Agenda 2030, adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN summit. Over the next 15 years, the SDGS will guide all countries in efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and address climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. The SDGs are built on the success of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities. Sport and physical fitness are central to implementation of the SDGs.