2021 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Date: Tue, Apr 6 2021 | International Day
Location: Virtual
Time: 9:30 - 10:30am
Members of the Brazilian battalion of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) play tug of war with a group of local children during a civic day event in Cité Soleil, Haiti. UN Photo/Logan Abassi


"As vaccines spread hope and spectators begin to return to arenas, the world of sport has crucial contributions to make in forging a safe and sustainable recovery. We will play and cheer again when everyone is safe from the pandemic.

- UN Secretary-General António Guterres


Secretary-General's message for 2021

Sport is one of the great human pursuits – a model of teamwork, a platform for individual excellence, a driver of economic growth for all of society.  The United Nations has long worked in wide-ranging ways with athletes and sporting federations and associations to use this great power to build bridges of friendship and coexistence, to promote healthy lifestyles, and to advance our work to achieve sustainable, inclusive development and the 2030 Agenda.

Those involved in sport also have responsibilities: to reduce its environmental footprint; to meet international labour standards; to fight discrimination and prejudice of all kinds; to reject corruption; and to ensure that major global events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which bring the world together, leave a positive legacy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to the world of sports.  Workers, fans and athletes have felt the pain of absence, of lost revenue and of dreams deferred.  But many competitions and leagues have found new ways to create opportunities for community and joy despite the crisis. 

As vaccines spread hope and spectators begin to return to arenas, the world of sport has crucial contributions to make in forging a safe and sustainable recovery.  The United Nations looks forward to continuing to work with sportspeople and organizations around the world to advance climate action and to promote peace, human rights and sustainable development.  We will play and cheer again when everyone is safe from the pandemic.


Sport and physical activity for better reopen and recover

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right, a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace and well as solidarity, and respect. Through our unique individual skills and collective power, we can come together and share creative ways to improve our health and well-being through sport and physical activity - even from the confines of our own homes.

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 6 April presents an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity plays in communities and in people’s lives across the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to gather as friends, for teams and fans to compete, play and cheer together. It has taken a toll on individuals, societies, organizations and economies. Measures put in place to defeat the pandemic have touched every aspect of our lives, including sport. But sport itself can help play a role in building resilience and in the recovery from the pandemic. It can help in the effort to build back better to a more resilient and equitable world.

Sport can help promote fairness, teambuilding, equality, inclusion and perseverance. Sport and physical activity can also help us get through times of crisis, like COVID19, by reducing anxieties and improving physical and mental health. Professional sport also provides employment and income to many people around the world and an integral sector to the economic success of many communities and regions.

Sport can cross boundaries and defy stereotypes and inspire hope across nations, but we will only be able to get back to this, if we recover better and help end the pandemic by helping ensure everyone is protected from COVID-19.

Now more than ever we must act as a team to defeat the pandemic, level the playing field for fair and equal vaccine distribution and support each other to recover stronger from the pandemic.


#OnlyTogether can we play or cheer again

Between Wednesday, 31 March, through to, and on Tuesday, 6 April, we ask you share on your social media platforms a picture or video showing the value of sport in your life and highlight the importance of ensuring we are all protected from COVID-19 so we can return to moments like this in the future. We ask that you use the hashtags #OnlyTogether and #SportDay

And if you cannot share your own picture, you can share a graphic social media asset we provide, with your own caption alongside the hashtags #OnlyTogether and #SportDay.

We ask that you include in your caption the following core message:

Let’s help end the pandemic by ensuring everyone is protected from COVID-19. Let’s level the playing field and recover better. #OnlyTogether will we [play] [cheer] again. #SportDay

A photo of women playing rugby with text overlay