Blog: Clear data key to monitoring progress on human rights targets within the sporting sector

29 March 2022
Children playing football in Malaysia

A blog by Dr Lin Sambili, Project Manager, Sport for Development and Peace (SDP), Commonwealth Secretariat

Since 2015, all global policies in sport have been tied to the mission of advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights.

Although the SDGs – introduced by UN - are voluntary goals, these are underpinned by Commonwealth States’ human rights obligations. Some 92% of SDG targets are inherently linked to international human rights law obligations.

Therefore, measuring the contribution of sport at a national, institutional and community level is invaluable for tracking the progress member states are making towards these goals and improving accountability. 

Sport as a tool to advance sustainable development

To support this, the Commonwealth Secretariat has developed a set of common indicators. These indicators play a key role in advancing the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Sport for Development (SDP) team in the area of human rights.

Each one helps track how sport is being used as a tool to advance sustainable development and strengthen governance and gender equality.

But more needs to be done to identify the gaps and close the loop on disaggregated data. Clearer data means greater investment across all levels of society and leads to better accountability and access to sporting opportunities for all.

Global Sport and SDG Impact Report

Thus, to accelerate the strides made with the indicators, the Commonwealth Secretariat - in partnership with UNESCO and other key stakeholders - is working on the delivery of the first Global Sport and SDG Impact Report.

This will become a global baseline report demonstrating the contribution sports make to select SDGs. The Global Impact Report will examine the themes of social impact, inclusion and equality which are key towards promoting and protecting human rights.

The results of the Global Impact Report will be presented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda June 2022, and subsequently at the 10th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting (10CSMM) in July 2022, Birmingham, UK.

Join the 6th Commonwealth Debate on Sport and Sustainable Development 

Human rights are the focus of much of SDP’s work and will take centre stage at the upcoming Sixth Annual Commonwealth Debate on Sport and Sustainable Development, taking place on 31st March.

Experts from the sector will debate the issue and how it should be prioritised within the physical activity sector as nations build back from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Learn more about the debate and register to attend



Media contact

  • Amy Coles  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • E-mail