Government of Canada

Government of Canada

August 07, 2008 09:46 ET

The Government of Canada Reiterates its Support to Sport for Development at Beijing Ministerial Meeting

BEIJING, CHINA--(Marketwire - Aug. 7, 2008) - On the eve of the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games, the Government of Canada co-hosted the launch of the final report of the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group entitled Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace Recommendations to Governments. The event took place at the British Columbia Canada Pavilion and was co-hosted by Right to Play, the Canadian based international humanitarian organization that has acted as Secretariat to the Working Group.

The Honourable Helena Guergis, Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport), along with sport ministers and senior officials from other countries, attended the final Executive Committee Meeting and the presentation of the Working Group's Final Report.

"The Government of Canada recognizes sport's positive contribution to promoting health, strengthening youth development, and fostering social inclusion and gender equity in countries around the world and we are proud to support such initiatives," said Secretary of State Guergis.

"This Report clearly demonstrates how sport can improve the lives of children and adults around the world. I would like to thank the many governments and organizations that have contributed to this important report. The future of Sport for Development and Peace ultimately depends on national governments, and I urge them to seriously consider the report's recommendations," said Johann Olav Koss, head of the Working Group Secretariat, President and CEO of Right to Play, and a four-time Olympic gold medalist.

The Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group is a four-year international initiative whose mission was to develop practical recommendations for integrating sport into national governments' domestic and international development policies. The Working Group is chaired by a senior representative of the United Nations Development Program. It is comprised of an Executive Committee made up of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and senior UN officials, and a Bureau consisting of working level officials from national governments, UN agencies and civil society.

Canada is one of the four funding governments of the Working Group, comprising over 50 countries. Through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian International Development Agency, the Government of Canada has been involved in supporting sport for development initiatives. In 2007-2008, Canada provided close to $2.3 million to support such activities. The Department of Canadian Heritage has also provided $536,671 to Right to Play over the period of 2004-2008 for its role as Secretariat to Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group.

The Government of Canada recognizes that sport is a defining part of Canada's identity. In 2008-2009, the Government of Canada's investment in the Canadian sport system will reach an all-time high of $166 million annually. In Budget 2008, additional funding of $24 million over the next two years and $24 million per year ongoing was announced to support the Road to Excellence program. This funding will enhance the Government's excellence programming for summer athletes, increasing the number of coaches, training camps, and opportunities for our athletes to compete internationally.

The Government of Canada is the single largest contributor to sport in this country and supports participation and excellence from the playground to the podium.

This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Helena Guergis,
    Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and
    International Trade) (Sport)
    Philippe Mailhot
    Director of Communications
    613-995-1293
    or
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations
    819-994-9101
    1-866-569-6155