Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The International Platform on Sport and Development, Commonwealth Secretariat & Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)'s online course, Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds The agenda 2030 for sustainable development describes the sport as a very important enabler of sustainable development and peace. You know, it recognises the growing contribution of sport in promoting tolerance and respect in empowering women and young people,persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and in general individuals of any age and communities with the aim of leaving no country and no one behind. And one framework of this sector is also because an action plan which defines a sport as comprising sport for all, physical play, recreation, dance, organised, casual, competitive, traditional, and indigenous sports and games in their diverse forms.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds Sport is a fundamental field of intervention for governments to achieve achieve the full potential of physical activity for personal and social, economic and environmental development. And this type of recognition offers a compelling incentive and then unmissable opportunity for joint efforts and action in the field of sport for development and peace. So with this aspiration, of leaving no one behind, and maximising the contribution of sport for a better and peaceful world, sport can really contribute in a very important manner in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds See, sport interventions have taken place through a variety of strategic alliances, partnerships and programmes by institutions including community based organisations and sport federation’s, national governments, academic institutions, transnational organisations, international development agencies, and of course the private sector and all of these stakeholders are supportive of the idea, the sport policy’s unique attributes that allow it to advance the specific goals including, of course, the Sustainable Development Goals. Now another opportunity offered by sport is that it is a valuable tool for fostering communication and building bridges between communities and the generations. Through sport, various social groups are able to play a more central role towards social transformation and development particularly in divided societies. So let us take an example the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 seconds major sporting organisations have shown their solidarity with efforts to reduce the spread of the virus for example, FIFA has teamed up with the World Health Organisation and they have launched a pass the message, kick out Coronavirus campaign, led by very well known football players in 13 languages, calling on people to follow the five key steps to stop the spread of the disease. Let me mention a few other challenges that existed pre pandemic, such as the lack of awareness about the social role of sport, which may lead to insufficient support to sport initiatives. And now this pandemic is really exacerbating these pre existing situations.

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 seconds Though progress has been made in somehow overcoming prejudices and exclusion of women and girls from sport, still, differences exist. Just look at the salaries for women and girls in sport activities. They are not the same applied to male athletes. And if we look also at sport people or athletes with disabilities, who they definitely suffer from a double, triple discrimination not only due to cultural barriers, but also because of Architectural barriers that preclude access and inclusion to anything related to sport and physical activities in general. However, if we unite, we can make it.

Implementing big bold goals and delivering together

What determines effective national SDG implementation?


Governments need to be held to account for implementation. Many different hierarchies and organisations are involved in SDG implementation, however effective national implementation requires governments to take responsibility for sport development priorities.

Multidimensional effort

A multidimensional approach is required of any national system if the SDGs are to be implemented. Although there isn’t a universal standard, establishing the following 4 key systems can improve performance of many organisations:

  • A performance information system - the ability to communicate useful timely information to stakeholders.
  • A performance monitoring system - a system that allows responsible managers or people to manage the journey towards the desired results.
  • A performance evaluation system - a system that allows stakeholders to convert or distil information in a format that facilitates assessment of progress – i.e. a traffic light system
  • A performance incentive system - people need to know why change is necessary. A well-designed incentive system will allow people to see the common ground between achieving organisational goals and self-interest- i.e. taking people with you on the implementation journey.

Performance agreements

India, Malaysia, Bhutan and Kenya all provide good examples of places where public service agreements – often referred to as outcome agreements or performance agreements – have been used effectively to improve implementation of the SDGs and sport development in SDGs.

How does linking strategy and policy through SD help to transform lives?

“Changes in national policy and strategy can transform lives on the ground. For example, we know that physical inactivity is one of the top four risk factors for non-communicable disease (NDC). We are also aware that there is a gender gap in terms of participation in and leadership of sport and physical activity, with women underrepresented.

So, deliberate investment and strategies to get more women and girls participating in sport and involved in leadership, coaching and administrative roles, has a health outcome, in terms of reducing the risk factors for the NCDs, and also helps to challenge stereotypes around gender roles.

Through such policy and programming, you can get broader change around peoples’ lives and we have seen impact in terms of community health and physical activity and in challenging and transforming gender stereotypes.“

Oliver Dudfield, Head of Sport for Development and Peace, Commonwealth Secretariat

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

The International Platform on Sport and Development