Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Olympism365: Advancing Global Peace and Sustainable Development through Sports


On the International Day for Peace, Auvita Rapilla, a member of the IOC and the head of the Olympism365 Commission, shared her thoughts on how the Olympism365 strategy can aid in achieving the worldwide Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help in fostering safer and more peaceful societies in the Pacific region and beyond.

The IOC, in its quest to achieve the #GlobalGoals, has a unique platform to bring about positive change in various communities. The IOC sees its role in fostering safer and more peaceful societies as crucial. It is essential to realize that the creation of safer and more peaceful societies is intertwined with inclusive sustainable development, which are complex issues. However, the IOC is confident that sports and Olympism can play a significant role in this endeavor.

The IOC’s commitment to this cause is embodied in the Olympism365 strategy, which aims to reinforce the role of sports as a key facilitator for the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 16, which focuses on promoting just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. The objective is to connect and support social impact initiatives worldwide to leverage the transformative potential of sports and Olympism to bring about positive change in lives, communities, and society.

The IOC and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) often focus on supporting athletes and preparing for the Olympic Games. However, they also find immense satisfaction in witnessing the impact of sports on people’s daily lives. Olympism365 aims to connect the opportunities available across the Olympic Movement to make a significant impact on a wide range of communities, extending far beyond those hosting the Games.

One successful collaboration that the Olympic Movement has engaged in to promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies, the focus of Goal 16, is the Kicks 4 Kokoda program in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This program aims to help young people overcome major challenges in their communities. Over 50% of women in PNG have experienced gender-based violence, according to statistics from the Ministry for Community Development. Therefore, achieving zero tolerance towards violence against women and children is a priority for PNG.

In response to this challenge, the PNG National Olympic Committee has partnered with the PNG Kokoda Track Foundation and Team Up, the Australian Government’s sports for development program. This partnership, established in 2021, has been very successful. Olympians, elite athletes, and community volunteers are trained as coaches and peer leaders. They team up with community health workers to understand the mindset of local youth and inspire them to engage with their communities in more inclusive and gender-equitable ways. They also help them access gender-based violence services. Sports and Olympic values provide a safe space to support the youth in these communities in ways that traditional service provision cannot.

Collaborations like these can significantly enhance the impact of sports and Olympism in various communities worldwide, particularly in fostering safer and more peaceful societies. Violence and safety issues in communities manifest differently in different contexts, with an increasing number of communities experiencing violent conflict and a high number of individuals suffering from crime and domestic violence. This includes data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicating that one out of two children experience some form of violence each year. In response to this, through Olympism365, the IOC is expanding its collaboration with the criminal justice sector to reinforce the role of sports in preventing youth crime.

A prime example is the IOC’s collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on the SC:ORE (Sport against Crime: Outreach, Resilience, Empowerment) initiative. This initiative aims to prevent and combat youth violence and crime through sports-based learning and skills training. This approach combines the expertise of leaders in youth crime prevention with the resources of the Olympic and sports movement.

It’s important to note that this initiative not only implements concrete projects but also focuses on enhancing the capacity of institutions, including those outside the sports movement, and strengthening public policies and investment focused on using sports in youth crime prevention. This approach is reflected across Olympism365 and is crucial for enhancing the scale, impact, and sustainability of the IOC’s collaborations to reinforce the role of sports as a facilitator for sustainable development.

Sports have a unique ability to unite people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The IOC, through Olympism365, leverages this potential to foster dialogue and collaboration among communities. It is strongly believed that sports can make a significant difference in our communities. This opportunity can be utilized not only by every sports organization within the Olympic Movement but also by community groups, governments at all levels, and businesses that wish to support positive social change.

A perfect example of this is the work done by IOC Young Leader Sophia Papamichalopoulos, who uses sailing to bring together individuals from both the Greek- and Turkish-speaking sides of Cyprus to foster dialogue and understanding. In this case, sports provide an entry point and space that other approaches cannot. Contributing to the creation of safer and more peaceful communities is a priority of Olympism365, and Sophia’s work is an example of how sports are being used to support this objective.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace, “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals,” sends a powerful message. It emphasizes that each one of us needs to take responsibility and act.

We all need to be responsible citizens, both locally and globally, making a difference in our respective countries to contribute meaningfully to global peace through our local communities. Whether it’s Team PNG athletes working with community health workers to support access to gender-based violence services in the Kokoda region of PNG, or Sophia’s work in Cyprus, each one of us can make a difference. However, we need to take the initiative ourselves. There’s so much more we can achieve together as a global movement by collaborating with others who share our vision of building a better world.

In the next five to ten years, I hope that Olympism365 will further validate the role of sports and Olympism in advancing sustainable development and contributing to the creation of more peaceful and sustainable communities. During my time in the Olympic Movement, I’ve witnessed the positive change that can be brought about using the platform of sports. I’ve seen the potential impact first-hand with our programs, such as Kicks 4 Kokoda or the Olympic Values Education Program.

We use our Team PNG Olympians and elite athletes not only to be champions in the sporting field, but also to act as leaders in their communities. These athletes run the education programs, and they’re the role models that children and young people look up to and aspire to be. But to sustain and scale this impact, we need to integrate their contributions into education, health, social development, and community safety. This is the mission of Olympism365.