ILS President at the United Nations in Geneva

At the Sportaccord Convention in April 2010, ILS President Dr. Steve Beerman met Mr Wilfried Lemke, UN Under-Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP).

At the same Sportaccord Convention ILS Secretary General and ILS President met with the President and Secretary General for Peace and Sport. The UNOSDP and Peace and Sport have a Working Agreement, signed in October 2009.

Since those meetings, ILS and Sport and Peace are working on an MOU. This should be completed in the near future.

On November 25, 2010 the ILS President, Dr. Steve Beerman was invited to the UN Headquarters in Geneva for meetings with the UNOSDP. Mr. Lemke had extended the invitation and was planning to be there, but priorities in Haiti took forced his absence so the meeting was with the UNOSDP Staff. In advance of the meeting the UNOSP were provided with an overview of the ILS Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals. ILS had invited Mr. Lemke to Vietnam for the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in May 2011. We had a preliminary acceptance of that invitation.

The ILS President met with Jonas Burgheim, Program Officer/Assistant to the Special Advisor and Antone Trady, Advocacy and Communications Officer, and Nathalie Phillips UNOSDP. There were 2 UNOSDP interns in the meeting, as observers. Dr. Beerman outlined the ILS Vision and Mission. The alignment of the ILS Strategic Framework and the UN Millennium Goals was presented. The following points were made clearly:

  1. Every child on the planet should have survival swimming skills and water safety knowledge
  2. Every child on the planet should have an introduction to Lifesaving Sport.
  3. Every government should be supportive and engaged in assisting this aquatic life saving effort.
  4. ILS is the NGO leading this effort and ILS will need all available collaborative partners to bring this to reality.

The UNOSDP Staff were very interested in this ambitious vision. They suggested that our efforts may benefit from Official Relations with UNICEF (UN Agency for Children) and UNESCO (UN Agency for Education, Social and Culture). They suggested that ILS link with Ms. Ingrid Beutler, Manager, Sports’ Social Responsibility Department, Sport Integrity Unit/ Special Projects Unit, Sport Accord. ILS has and continues to have communication with Ms Beutler.

The UNOSDP offered assistance to ILS to link with governments and international agencies that could assist ILS to make progress with the ILS Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals. Mr. Lemke’s participation in the World Conference on Drowning Prevention was confirmed. ILS was invited to be an observer on the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG).

This UN Working Group will promote and support the adoption of policies and programmes by national governments to harness the potential of sport to contribute to the achievement of development objectives, specifically the Millennium Development Goals, and Peace.

The objectives to fulfil this mandate are to:

  • Provide a forum for governments to benefit from each other’s experiences and share best practices;
  • Support the implementation of policy recommendations; and
  • Sustain momentum with regard to government awareness and take-up in Sport Development and
  • Peace.

There are five thematic division: Sport and Health; Sport and Peace; Sport and Gender; Sport and Persons with Disabilities; Sport and Child & Youth Development.

On the 8 December 2010 in Brussels, the European Regional Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG) meeting will take place. The meeting is a follow up to the plenary session of May 2010. It is organized by the European Regional Representative, represented by UK Sport.

The European meeting will be focusing on Sport and Child & Youth Development focusing on three Strategic Areas of Priority:

  • Child Protection in Sport
  • Sport to Strengthen Child and Youth Education
  • Sport to Enhance Transferable Skills and Employment Opportunities

The ambition of the meeting is to work with national governments to support their efforts in Sports Development and Peace and their efforts to embed policy and action into their national and international development strategies, as well as identify and share best practices.

ILS has been invited to participate as an observer to this meeting and to present a case study under the sub theme Sport to Strengthen Child and Youth Education. The ILS President cannot attend this meeting. The ILS Secretary General may attend on behalf of ILS.

ILS will continue to work on the MOU with Peace and Sport. ILS will continue to advance humanitarian, civil society and sport initiatives.

The UNOSDP Staff requested a list of the ILS and ILS member projects that were currently underway or planned that involve UN Agencies (WHO, UNICEF, Labour and Work in Europe)

At the time of this report I am aware of these projects;

World Health Organization: ” Guidelines for safe recreation water environments Vol 1 Coastal and Fresh Water and Vol 2 Swimming Pools, Spas and Similar Recreational Water Environments, contributor, World Report on Child Injury Prevention 2008 contributor, ASEAN Drowning Prevention, content experts, Research Project in Drowning Risk Reduction in low resource environments (on going), World Conference on Drowning Prevention ” May 2011 participant. WHO Injury Prevention Conferences participants

UNICEF: ” The RLSSA is involved in Safe-Danang, Bangladesh Drowning Research Centre, Innocenti Research Centre ” Child Mortality and Injury in Asia. 2007 and ongoing

Work and Labour EU: ” standardized training and competency requirements for lifesavers and Lifeguards (on going) Please advise me and the ILS Headquarters of other UN agency connections.

IOC: ” ILS is the IOC Recognized International Federation for Lifesaving Sport

Dr Steve Beerman
President – International Life Saving Federation