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.
A billiard break representing sport impacting intended targets (Good Health and Wellbeing) with Knock on effects for other SDGS, for example for Inclusive sport, Women in sport Leadership, Gender Equality and Economic growth.

“Leave no one behind” and cross-cutting themes

Any activity which brings about change has ripples and repercussions. Build a dam in one area and the floodwaters are diverted; one community may benefit, whilst another community further away may be negatively impacted. Consideration of the wider context is really important to make lasting change.

The SDGs were created considering the “leave no one behind” principle. In particular, SDG17 recognises the need for partnership to achieve collective goals. The work that we do collectively should end poverty, reduce inequality and tackle climate change over the next decade and bring the world’s citizens along on the journey.

Similarly, disability rights campaigners have been using the phrase “nothing about us, without us” since the 1990s. Like their vision, the people whose lives are affected by these global issues need to be part of the process for deciding what needs to change. Given the communicative power of sport, i.e. being omnipresent in society, sport has an opportunity to address issues of marginalisation.

There is clear potential to use sport-based approaches in support of youth development, gender equality, inclusion of people with a disability, marginalised groups, low-income countries and territories impacted upon by climate change. Yet, this remains only ‘potential’ unless it is actually realised, understood, implemented and scaled up. This is why policy and programmes together are so important.

Cross-cutting themes

Throughout the course, there will be a number of recurrent themes that resonate particularly with sport and development activities:

  • Rights: Human rights and the welfare of programme participants
  • Diversity and inclusion: Gender and discrimination, disability, safeguarding and child protection
  • Environmental sustainability

As a practitioner of sport and development, it is important to get into the habit of reflecting on these cross-cutting themes to ensure adequate consideration in all activities initiated. More information available about the themes available here.

Sport for Generation Equality Framework is an example of how sport can be leveraged for gender equality.


Why do you think these particular themes are crucial for sport and development initiatives to consider?

Share your thoughts in the discussion by adding a comment below.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

The International Platform on Sport and Development