Sport for development: from policy to practice – Paul Hunt

“It will help us better understand sport’s role in society but also argue for increased investment in those areas where sport is really making a big difference,” said Paul Hunt, Senior Project Manager at The International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev), on sports’ role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, he also said that there is still work to be done to help raise awareness around sport’s influence in all 17 SDGs set out in 2015, including but not limited to climate action, health and wellbeing, gender equality, education, building sustainable cities, and driving economic growth.

This is accentuated by a sport development survey carried out in 2020, which shows that almost three in ten people (29%) are unaware of the SDGs and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among other international action plans. Furthermore, Hunt said that this contributes to barriers faced by organisations in sport and government when attempting to turn policy into practice.

There are however many success stories where sport is proving to be a reliable tool for bringing about positive change in society. For example, in Jamaica, a Fight For Peace initiative to deploy boxing and martial arts classes within the nation’s education system and youth support services is being used to prevent crime and reduce reoffending.

According to research carried out by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, they found that sport provides a return of more than €5 for every €1 invested, by helping to reduce crime, truancy and ill health among communities in need. “This offers another argument to why it’s important for policy to include investment in sports programmes,” Hunt added. If you would like to hear more on this, listen to our SportWorks TALK with Paul Hunt and find out how sport is supporting the ideation and delivery of sustainability goals worldwide and in which ways investment can help implement government and stakeholder policies within local communities. 

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Sport 4 Development, SportWorks TALKS

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