Sport is far more than a luxury or a form of entertainment. Access to and participation in sport is a human right and essential for individuals of all ages to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Sport - from play and physical activity to organised competitive sport - has an important role in all societies. Sport is critical to a child's development. It teaches core values such as co-operation and respect. It improves health and reduces the likelihood of disease. It is a significant economic force providing employment and contributing to local development. And, it brings individuals and communities together, bridging cultural or ethnic divides. Sport offers a cost-effective tool to meet many development and peace challenges.
The potential of sport as a tool for development is yet to be fully realised. The use of sport remains outside the mainstream of thinking of many development agencies. While sport and play are repeatedly acknowledged as a human right, they are not always seen as a priority and have even been called the 'forgotten right'. Sport is seen as a by-product of development, not as an engine. But sport must play a stronger role in the development agenda. The contribution sport can make when it is used in a co-ordinated and strategic way has been convincingly demonstrated, and all actors in development are now challenged to integrate sport into their work.