On the occasion of the 4th international day of sport dubbed “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace,” to be celebrated on 6 April 2017, the President of ANOCA, Intendant General Lassana Palenfo, addressed the following message to the entire African Olympic family.
Dear members of the African Olympic family,
On this day, 6 April 2017, ANOCA, through my humble person, is pleased to address you on this 4th International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, to discuss the role of sport as a factor of unity and communion, which can bring reconciliation where there is conflict, nurtures love where there is disenchantment, and is a development lever in an Africa that is in turmoil in some regions.
Here we are, once again, on 6 April, a historic day that marks the celebration of a Day adopted by the United Nations at the behest of the IOC on 23 August 2013. It is a day, if the reminder is worthwhile, that seeks to recognise and foster invaluable efforts made by peace and development stakeholders through sport. Moreover, it also aims at recognising sport as a unique and powerful tool for the furtherance of dignity as well as equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Sport drives positive social change. It is a significant factor for community development, peace keeping and reconciliation.
Beyond the celebration of this day, the sheer power of sport as a peace and development lever deserves to be highlighted across Africa. Our Association thus avails itself of the opportunity afforded by the celebration of this 4th International Day of Sport to underscore that we are celebrating against a backdrop of violent conflicts that plague some parts of the Continent and thus hinder economic, social and cultural development. Today, it is disheartening and disappointing to see Africa, the cradle of humanity, which so unites people with a common history, become a hotbed of multiple human conflicts and tragedies, owing to intolerance and refusal of contrary religious opinions. At this very defining moment, we should, more than ever before, in synergy, ally with charitable people of goodwill to foster understanding and fraternity through sport. The spirit of Olympism in each of us should always prevail, and help establish sports and Olympic values, which should stand as an impenetrable fortress against violence, acrimony and fanatic behaviour. Olympic and sporting Africa must, during the Olympiad beginning this year, rise to a daunting challenge: implementing, at continental level, the recommendations of IOC Agenda 2020, which is the compass of our quadrennial action plan and which, while having a universal scope, encompasses the gamut of integrated and inseparable priorities that benefit athletes, the people, sport and peace. ANOCA thus urges all stakeholders of the African Olympic and Sports Movement and State leaders to celebrate sports values on this day, 6 April 2017, and bear in mind that sport must increasingly be taken into consideration and used in conflict resolution and, above all, to create conditions necessary for lasting peace.
Long live sport!
Intendant General Lassana Palenfo, President of ANOCA