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UN-Habitat, Olympism 365 Sports delegation calls on Mayor of Accra; advocates sports in SDGs


A six-member delegation from the UN-Habitat and the Olympism 365 Sports of the International Olympic Committee has called on the Mayor of Accra to discuss ways to promote sports and active recreation as an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Accra. 

The delegation led by Hilde Opoku, Project Manager for Ghana, Smart SDGs Cities, included former Mayor of Accra, Hon. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mr Dyfed Aubrey- Inter-Regional Advisor, Mr Ollie Dudfield - Associate Director Olympism 365, International Olympic Committee, Mr Ridwan Azeez-  Monitoring and Evaluation Manager Olympism 365, International Olympic Committee and a representative of UN-Habitat.

In her introductory remarks Hilde Opoku, Programme Manager for the Smart SDGs Cities in Ghana said the purpose of the visit was to among other things discuss the roles of sports as a tool for inclusive sustainable development in cities, consult on how to integrate sport and physical activity metrics into city analysis and planning tools and explore the signing of a Letter of Intent confirming Accra as an early adopter to the program.

She said the UN-Habitat and International Olympic Committee (IOC) had launched a collaboration that harnesses sports and active recreation as an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in cities adding that the UN-Habitat, through the Smart SDGs Cities program would execute activities together with the Government of Ghana and key stakeholders at the national and local government levels.

Former Mayor of Accra and the project lead, Hon. Mohammed Adjei Sowah highlighted the pivotal role sports play in fostering social inclusion, gender equality, and community development.

Recognising sports as a powerful tool to address various societal challenges, the former Mayor underscored the need for integrated policies that prioritise sports as a means to achieve the SDGs.

"It is not just about the discipline of professional sports but any activity which exerts some physical energy and contributes to your wellbeing. Health is a very critical issue... So mainstreaming sports into SDGs is not just football, but an activity that addresses the multiple targets of the SDGs. We spoke about boxing. One of the SDG's goals is to end poverty, so we are looking at the number of lives that boxing has changed from zero to millionaires today," he said.

He said by integrating sports into the fabric of sustainable development the collaboration sought to create lasting impacts on the well-being and prosperity of communities in Accra and contribute to the broader SDGs on a global scale.

The Mayor of Accra, Hon Elizabeth Naa Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, who welcomed the delegation expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration and emphasised the AMA's commitment to utilising sports as a driving force for positive change.

The SDGs are high-level goals that all UN Member States adopted in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.