Brussels, April 7, 2020 (United Nations / World Health Organization). In response to global developments concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace focuses on the health benefits of participating in sporting and physical activity, especially in this time of uncertainty and social distancing.


Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play. But one may wonder: what does sport have to do with the United Nations? In fact, sport presents a natural partnership for the United Nations (UN) system.


Sport has proven to be a cost-effective and flexible tool for promoting peace and development objectives. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sport's role for social progress is further acknowledged: "Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives."


The United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces with FIFA in supporting the #BeActive campaign launched on the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace to encourage people to be #HealthyAtHome as the world comes together in the fight against COVID-19.


"We are delighted that football is strongly supporting the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by asking everyone to #BeActive and to remain healthy at home during this difficult time," said António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations. "FIFA has asked the football community, from member associations and clubs to players and fans, to show their support, to put their rivalries aside and to show new solidarity so we can overcome the coronavirus. This is an important lesson not only for today but for every day."


In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, to celebrate the contribution of sports and physical activity to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and a peaceful world.