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Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Arjoon Suddhoo at open-ended working group

International framework on measuring sport’s contribution gains traction

25 November 2019

Global experts have commended an international framework which helps countries and sports bodies measure the contribution sport makes to the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In Geneva, 90 experts from governments, international organisations and sports bodies welcomed the framework during the annual meeting of an open-ended working group on developing indicators on sports and the SDGs, hosted by the International Labour Organization.

The Commonwealth developed the framework, which includes model indicators and a toolkit that can be used to assess the potential benefits of sport delivery and recreational programmes on the SDGs.This is part of the Commonwealth’s role in coordinating global efforts to deliver action two of the internationally recognised ‘Kazan Action Plan’ on sport, physical education and physical activity.

Officials from the countries and organisations that have adopted the framework attended the meeting. They reported that the framework has improved their ability to forge multi-sector partnerships on sport and sustainable development, and enhanced their capacity to target future policy and programme to maximise sport’s benefits across communities.

Speaking at the meeting, Suzzette Ison from Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports said: “This framework has made it much easier for us to show how sport can deliver on the priorities of stakeholders across sectors and areas of government.”

Etsuko Yamada from Japan Sports Council echoed this, saying: “The practical implementation of the model indicators framework will lead to a strong evidence-based policy-making process.”

The framework is the first international initiative to support data collection on sport’s impact on the SDGs – particularly on good health, quality education, good governance and gender equality - areas to which sport does not directly relate but can contribute.

Canada, Jamaica, Mauritius, Namibia, the Commonwealth Games Federation and International Paralympic Committee are among countries and organisations using the framework in support of data collection, and whose officials shared the lessons learned during the adoption the framework.

Mubarakahmad Boodhun, Permanent Secretary of Mauritius’ Ministry of Youth and Sport, said: “The biggest challenge is getting buy-in from policy-makers to look at sport in the context of the SDGs.

“Sensitisation about the relationship between sport and its contribution to the SDGs is critical.”

They highlighted that using existing tools from health, education, labour and human rights, among other sectors, to measure sport’s contribution “was vital, especially in not only helping to address capacity issues but also to avoid duplication”.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Arjoon Suddhoo said: “Given the complex challenges our planet currently faces, it is critical to maximise the positive contribution of all assets at our disposal, particularly sport.

“However, due to lack of data about sport, physical education and physical activity, we do not know if their potential is being fully realised.

“The Commonwealth is pleased to lead this action to develop a measurement framework on behalf of the international community over the last two years.”

Moving forward, the Commonwealth will refine the framework based on the inputs of the experts.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs will host the next session of the open-ended working group in New York in 2020.