26 July 2018
Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) – Sport Integrity Forum
Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) – Sport Integrity Forum”
Thursday, 26 July 2018, at 10:00 a.m.
Room XVII, Palais des Nations
Mr. Macedo de Medeiros,
A very warm welcome to you to the Palais des Nations. It is a pleasure to be with you today for the opening of SIGA’s fourth Sport Integrity Forum and its first ever in Geneva, and hopefully not the last one.
Sport is an incredibly powerful tool to promote peace and development - from the Olympic Truce in Ancient Greece some 2,300 years ago that called on nations to keep the peace whilst the Games were in session, to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which recognizes sport as “an important enabler of sustainable development”.
Sport represents integrity, tolerance and respect. It teaches perseverance, teamwork and fair play.
It promotes universal values that transcend cultural and social backgrounds, languages and religions, and even lifts people out of poverty.
Which is why the United Nations is committed to harnessing the power of sport.
Just this past April, we joined forces with UEFA and organized the “Match for Solidarity”. Together, we raised almost 1 million Swiss francs for children with disabilities, celebrating diversity and promoting social cohesion.
Yet sport is also a mirror of our world, with its inequalities, biases, and bigotry. Of the world’s top 100 highest paid athletes in 2018, guess how many women featured in the list? Incredibly, not a single one. This is not acceptable.
Sport has tremendous potential, but to really use its power for the good of the world, it also needs to change. Which is why your mission at SIGA - the world’s largest organisation for sports integrity - is so important.
Today’s Forum will promote values that are relevant beyond the world of sport. Because respect for integrity and ethics, and a universal commitment to “play by the rules of the game”, are indispensable in re-establishing trust in governance at local, national and international levels. Such trust is crucial to make our world a better place for all and to leave no one behind.
SIGA’s vision of sport played and governed under the highest integrity standards, free from unethical, illicit and criminal activity, to safeguard sport’s values and ensure its positive impact and benefits to all citizens, aligns with ongoing efforts at the UN and beyond. Primary among these, is work on Action 3 of the Kazan Action Plan “Unify and further develop international standards supporting sport ministers’ interventions in the field of sport integrity”, with the participation of UNESCO, the Council of Europe, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Labour Organization, OECD, Interpol, UNICEF, IOC, WADA, FIFA and many others.
SIGA also fits perfectly into the unique ecosystem that is a hallmark of the Lac Geneva region - the convergence of sports federations, international organizations, NGOs and countless other actors is without parallel anywhere else in the world. I am confident that you will both benefit from and contribute to the flurry of activity already underway.
Opportunities for deeper collaboration abound - whether by reinvigorating efforts previously pursued here by the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, or by leveraging the momentum created by the Kazan Action Plan last year. With the Action Plan, 116 countries for the first time officially recognised that protecting the integrity of sport is essential to maximize the contribution sport can make to sustainable development and peace.
I know you will find International Geneva to be a rich and fertile ground to leverage synergies, chart new directions, and foster innovation.
Whether by deploying SIGA’s Independent Rating and Verification System of sports organizations or taking advantage of its training and capacity building tools - I look forward to see what we can achieve together.
If there is one red thread in what we are doing, it is partnership. We need to increase and integrate our synergies for the common good.
I wish you a good discussion. Thank you for being here today.