Ministers say the measurement and evaluation of the contribution of sport, and making it mainstream to national development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need to be strengthened.
This was just one of a package of recommendations following the 9th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting at the Gold Coast, Australia.
They stressed that a well governed and inclusive environment, with strong integrity measures and human rights protection, were essential to maximise the impact of sport.
“Sport provides such a fantastic platform not just to see human beings at their most magnificent, I think it allows us to grow our community and opportunities for social cohesion. Gender equity targets can be made to use sport as an enabler and growing the industry base,” said Australia’s sports minister, Senator Bridget McKenzie, who chaired the meeting. “We have hundreds of thousands of Australians employed in a billion dollar sport industry. We have millions volunteering every single week, so in terms of what sport as an enabler can contribute to wider policy goals, it is a really untapped area for ministers right across governments.”
Ministers also agreed to strengthen and coordinate sport policy implementation through partnerships between governments, the Commonwealth Games Federation and sporting organisations.
They also called for further analysis and action on the role of sport in achieving SDG 9, the promotion of industry, innovation and infrastructure. The meeting stressed the complexity and challenge of measuring and evaluating sport’s contribution effectively when it came to non-sport sustainable development.
Ministers resolved to intensify national action, regional cooperation and international collaboration to tackle the threats to the integrity of sport, such as corruption, unethical or illegal behaviour, match-fixing and doping.
They agreed to examine the vulnerabilities and the capacity to respond to these challenges across member states, and to find ways to help countries optimise sports integrity, especially in small and vulnerable states.
“We were just talking today about how we could use the new Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform (OCCJR) to look at whether we can create some best practice framework agreements and framework legislation,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. “This is an opportunity for us to share what we know because all of us are facing the same challenges in relation to illicit flow. The fact is that people are trying to take adventitious advantage of these global networks for corrupt reasons.
“We know if we’re going to make an impact, we’re going to have to join together, just as the criminals are joining together. They know no boundaries and they are attacking all of us collectively. This is our moment to fight back and we know we can only fight back successfully if we fight back together, so informing each other, sharing with one another, brainstorming together will give us the sort of capacity that none of us have on our own.”
The ministers commended the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games for being the first major international multi-sport event to offer an equal number of medals for men and women and for ensuring the largest para-sport programme in its history. They also looked forward to the 2022 Birmingham Games.