In an Olympic first, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has addressed the IOC Session in advance of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
“Today I am in Sochi to witness countries uniting in a spirit of friendly competition and goodwill,” he said in the build up to the Games’ Opening Ceremony.
It was the first time that a UN secretary-general had attended an IOC Session.
Ban Ki-moon praised the joint efforts of the UN and the IOC to use sport as a tool for social change, describing the two organisations as teammates.
“That team – the United Nations and the IOC – are not competing on the ski slopes or skating rinks,” he said.
“We are joining our forces together for our shared ideals.
“Sustainability. Universality. Solidarity. Non-discrimination. The fundamental equality of all people.”
Ban Ki-moon renewed his call for all warring parties worldwide to observe the Olympic Truce and “to lay down their weapons during the Games – and to lift their sights to the promise of peace”.
He urged others to follow the example set by the Olympic Winter Games.
“The athletes here carry the flags of different nations – but they are all joining under the banner of equality, fair play, understanding and mutual respect,” he said.
“Their histories, traditions and day-to-day lives offer a wonderful parade of human diversity. And the athletes send a unified message that people and nations can put aside their differences.
“If they can do that in Sochi’s sporting arenas, leaders of fighters should do the same in the world’s combat areas.”
Ban Ki-moon also referred to the IOC’s observer status at the UN and the many joint projects in the field and concluded: “The United Nations will continue to partner with the IOC to build a better, freer and more equal world. I count on your engagement and your support.
“Let us work together to make this world better for all.”