Experts from leading intergovernmental, civil society and sport organisations have agreed to work with the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop practical solutions to quantify and enhance the role sport can play in global efforts to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.
Experts gathered for the inaugural open-ended working group on model indicators on sport and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was held in London last week.
In line with the Secretariat’s work to deliver the Kazan Action Plan, which links sport policy development to the United Nations 2030 Agenda, discussions focused on developing and testing model indicators that help assess the feasibility of common international data sets on sport and development.
Speaking at the opening of the working group, Assistant Secretary-General Nabeel Goheer stressed the importance of evidence-based decision making on sport and the SDGs.
“We need to mobilise all possible development assets and tools at our disposal to achieve the SDGs. Sport, physical education and physical activity sit firmly among the assets,” he said.
“Aligning our collective measurement and evaluation efforts in these sectors will ensure we can better evidence their contribution to the SDGs and produce enhanced data and statistics to guide policy priorities and associated investment,” he added.
More than 50 international organisations and member state representatives participated in the working group including officials from UNESCO, the World Health Organisation, UNDESA, International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Federation.
The open-ended working group followed the annual meeting of the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport (CABOS), chaired by Louise Martin CBE.
The advisory body reviewed the vulnerabilities of sport integrity and linked its direct impact to the contribution of sports to the SDGs. It agreed on a co-ordinated approach to address these vulnerabilities, with the aim of tackling serious and emerging threats such as poor governance, corruption and safeguarding people involved in sport from abuse and non-accidental harm.
At the end of the meeting, the Chair’s statement highlighted “an urgent need for government and sport stakeholders alike to target and prioritise investment across the participation, performance and event-hosting continuum, based on the evidence of the return on health and wellbeing, community cohesion and shared prosperity”.
The advisory body also established the broad outlines to develop a consensus statement on promoting human rights in and through sport.
Moving forward, the findings from both meetings will be considered at the forthcoming Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting (CSMM) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, both scheduled to be held in 2020.