For some children sport is for fun. For others, sport is a passion that can lead to a professional career. Whether at grassroots, amateur or professional level, sport is a powerful tool for young people. Sport can contribute to achieving a number of goals, including promoting health and well-being, physical activity, education, youth empowerment, gender equality, social cohesion, cultural integration and community development.
All children have the fundamental right to participate, enjoy and develop through sport in a safe and inclusive environment. However, a number of challenges continue to undermine the sound development and indispensable protection of children and young people on their pathway to elite sport.
To deal with these challenges and implement the highest universal standards in terms of youth development and protection, there is a need for a holistic, multi-sector, global approach involving relevant national and international institutions and key stakeholders.
For these reasons the ICSS and ICSS EUROPE has decided to prioritise youth development and child protection and host a discussion during the EU Week of Sport. We cannot celebrate sport without reminding people about the need to protect it.
Through the unique lenses of a selective number of sports leaders, senior representatives from international authorities and governments, as well as sports bodies, children’s charities and key stakeholders, the Conference will offer a privileged opportunity to discuss several fundamental questions and meet the mounting challenges facing youth development and child protection across a series of high profile panels.
In order to uphold the integrity of sport, ensure youth athletes are protected and face the challenges and threats that undermine the ethical nature and future of sport, strong political will is required alongside intense collaborative efforts among stakeholders and at local, national, regional, and international levels.
This Conference, the presence of ICSS and ICSS EUROPE in Brussels and our support to the European Commission’s initiative during the EU Week of Sport is testimony to the ICSS’s commitment to this area.