Why Sport?

Sport and the Sustainable Development Goals 

In September 2015, the Global Goals for Sustainable Development were adopted by World leaders under the auspices of the UN and officially enacted in January 2016.

The SDGs are a set of 17 global targets set with a view to end poverty by 2030. After an extensive consultation process, the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were expanded to 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sport continues to play a role in advancing the global development agenda and is recognised within the SDGs as “an important enabler of sustainable development."

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) is an opportunity for us all to tell the world why sport matters, not just for fun and fitness, but specifically how sport can be used to address issues related to development and peace such a health, education, social inclusion and inequality.

Wilfried Lemke, UN Special Adviser on Sport  

For more information: 
UN Office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/sport/
SDGs http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/
International Platform on Sport and Development  http://www.sportanddev.org/  




The Importance of Sport (2015)
Access to sport and physical activity is a fundamental human right. Sport is well recognised internationally as a low-cost and high-impact tool for development and a powerful agent for social change. It is a culturally accepted activity that brings people together and unites families, communities and nations. 


Effective sport-for-development programs combine sport and play with other non-sport outcomes to achieve the desired development objectives. The focus is not on mass participation or performance in elite sport. This requires a purposeful, professional and socially responsible intervention that is tailored to the social and cultural context. Sport is under-utilised as a development tool and should be an integral component of any comprehensive development program.


Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General

"Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers. It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and for development."


Thomas Bach, IOC President 

"The UN and the IOC know how much sport can do to address the vast array of human and social needs in the areas of; health, education, inclusion, sustainable development ad peace ... Yes sport can change the world, but it cannot change the world alone. When placing sport at the service of humankind, we need and we want partnerships with other players in society." 


Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace

"Sport builds bridges between individuals and across communities, providing a fertile ground for sowing the seeds of development and peace."


Nelson Mandela

"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair."


International  Day of Sport for Development and Peace

The new international day was introduced to the United Nations calendar last year through close collaboration between the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee. The day is dedicated to promoting the impact that sport can have on development and peace outcomes and this year’s theme from the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) is ‘United action towards sustainable development for all through sport.’

Hundreds of organisations around the world are hosting celebrations, events and sporting activities in celebration of the 2nd IDSDP. To learn more visit:

The United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace
International Platform on Sport and Development
April 6


We're for Australian Aid

Sport Matters has joined the Campaign for Australian Aid. We have a series of powerful stories to tell about how sport is making an impact on development and peace, and will be leveraging IDSDP to raise the profile of Australia’s engagement in sport for development. Together we are calling for sport to be taken seriously as a low-cost and high impact tool for development, and an increase in the Australian Government’s investment in sport for development across the aid program, and extending beyond the Pacific.

Sport Matters is proud to be working closely with a number of aid and development agencies, and national and regional sport federations to celebrate IDSDP including:  Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC), CBM Australia, ChildFund Australia, Fairtrade Australia & NZ, Micah Challenge, World Vision Australia, Australian Football League, Australian Rugby Union, Oceania Athletics, FIBA Oceania, National Rugby League, Netball Australia, Oceania Table Tennis, Volleyball Australia, Football United and One Goal Australia.

Please join us by promoting IDSDP on and around April 6 in your communications and social media platforms using the international hashtags #IDSDP2015 and #sport4betterworld because sport matters for everyone, for life!

Learn more about the Campaign for Australian Aid.


Hear what some of our clients have to say about why sport matters to them?



words that describe why sport is important such as  Healthy life, discipline and confidence


Charles – Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa




Charles – Mitchell's Plain, South Africa

"The reason why sport matters for me, first is to give my dignity back to me and to have a healthy lifestyle, and the challenge of sport is a reason for me to stand up and to live."






Michael - Khayelitsha, South Africa




Michael - Khayelitsha, South Africa

"It helps to wipe the fears away because most of us are shy of ourselves, because when you are involved in sports you're not always in a hidden place."






Joshko - President Spinal Injury Association, Fiji.




Joshko - President Spinal Injury Association, Fiji


"It has no bounds. The opportunities that sports presents is limitless from health, to sustainability, to employment, to education. The opportunity that's given in regards to things that you thought you're not capable of. I challenge you to take up a sport and make your lives better."




Vanessa - Ravensmead Disability Forum, South Africa




Vanessa - Ravensmead Disability Forum, South Africa


"Sport matters to me because it changed our mindsets towards sport and it really gave us opportunities to teach kids in intellectual schools of disability to have joy of movement. At the same time it's like physiotherapy for their body."