World Sports Alliance Intergovenmental Organization

Sports for Develpment and peace

About Us

WSAIGO Sports for Development and Peace

The World Sports Alliance Intergovernmental Organization on Sports for Development and Peace (WSAIGOSDP), based in Scottsdale AZ and supported by the Liaison Office in New York, provides the entry point its 33 Member States within the United Nations with regard to Sports for Development and Peace, bringing the worlds of sports and development closer together. The Office assists Member States in worldwide activities as an advocate, facilitator and representative of sports social impact in a development context.

Definition of "Sports"

In a development context the definition of sport usually includes a broad and inclusive spectrum of activities suitable to people of all ages and abilities, with an emphasis on the positive values of sport. In 2003, the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace defined sport, for the purposes of development, as "all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games." This definition has since then been accepted by many proponents of WSAIGO Sports for Development and Peace.

Sports as a fundamental right

The right of access to and participation in sport and play has long been recognized in a number of international conventions. In 1978, UNESCO described sports and physical education as a "fundamental right for all". But until today, the right to play and sports has too often been ignored or disrespected.

Sports and Peace

Sports as a universal language can be a powerful tool to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. Its intrinsic values such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game are understood all over the world and can be harnessed in the advancement of solidarity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Sports programs permit encounters on neutral territory and in an environment where aggression can be controlled, regulated and transformed and hence facilitates rapprochement and reconciliation between opposing parties.

Communication and Mobilzation

From a development perspective, the focus is always on mass sports or elite sports. Sports is used to reach out to those most in need including refugees, child soldiers, victims of conflict and natural catastrophes, the impoverished, persons with disabilities, victims of racism, stigmatization and discrimination, persons living with HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

To fully harness the potential of Sport for Development and Peace, WSAIGO must ensure appropriate national government policies, investment and capacity are provided to support programs, and, where appropriate, to scale-up these programs and policies on a nationwide basis in connection with international frameworks. As sports is a cross-cutting issue, a broad range of government actors are potentially involved including ministries and departments of sports, youth, health, education, finance, persons with disabilities, gender, foreign affairs, economic development and labor Ministries and departments. National governments can play a key role in convening international, national and sub-national stakeholders to encourage knowledge exchange, networking, collaboration, partnerships and coordinated participation in the development and implementation of national Sports for Development and Peace policies and programs development and implementation.

Sports has the power to change the world.

Nelson Mandela

WSAIGOSDP Program Overview

The WSAIGO SDP aspires to use sports and play as tools in development cooperation and humanitarian aid efforts for decades. In recent years, UN bodies - along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, development agencies and sports organizations have increasingly recognized and systematically harnessed the power of sports to achieve their objectives hence contributing to the emergence of the WSAIGO Sports for Development and Peace movement. Today, WSAIGOSDP is working with a large number of the Member States to mobilize the uplifting power of sports in their activities, with their Special Advisers on Sports for Development and Peace acting as entry points.

Sports are not a cure-all for development problems. As a cultural phenomenon, it is a mirror of society and is just as complex and contradictory. As such, sports can also have negative side effects such as violence, corruption, discrimination, hooliganism, nationalism, doping and fraud. To enable sports to unleash its full positive potential, emphasis must be placed on effective monitoring and guiding of sports activities. The positive potential of sports does not develop automatically. It requires a professional and socially responsible intervention which is tailored to the respective social and cultural context. Successful Sports for Development and Peace programs work to realize the right of all members of society to participate in sport and leisure activities. Effective programs intentionally give priority to development objectives and are carefully designed to be inclusive. Effective Sport for Development and Peace programs combine sports and play with other non-sports components to enhance their effectiveness. Such programs embody the best values of sports while upholding the quality and integrity of the sport experience. They are delivered in an integrated manner with other local, regional and national development and peace initiatives so that they are mutually reinforcing. Programs seek to empower participants and communities by engaging them in the design and delivery of activities, building local capacity, adhering to generally accepted principles of transparency and accountability, and pursuing sustainability through collaboration, partnerships and coordinated action.

Sports as a Powerful Tool

Fundraising, advocacy, mobilization and raising public awareness: in particular by appointing celebrity athletes as 'Ambassadors' or 'Spokespersons' and leveraging the potential of sports events as outreach platforms. The mobilizing power of sport is often used as a "door-opener" to convey crucial messages about HIV/AIDS, child's rights, the environment, education, etc. Development and peace promotion: in grassroots projects sports are used in an extremely wide range of situations - whether as an integrated tool in short-term emergency humanitarian aid activities, or in long-term development cooperation projects, on a local, regional or global scale. Sports play a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. Sport is a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice. According to the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group, sport is seen to have the most benefits in:

  • Individual development
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Promotion of gender equality
  • Social integration and the development of social capital
  • Peace building and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalisation of life
  • Economic development

play, Have fun, Enjoy the game

Michael Jordan

Sustainable Development Goals

Sports and Sustainable Development Goals

After fifteen years of progress in the unprecedented Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world turned its attention to the successor Sustainable Development Goals in a period of transition to the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In a time of recapitulation of achievements and pending business around the eight MDGs (poverty eradication, universal primary education, gender equality, child mortality reduction, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, environment sustainability, and global partnership for development), the international community, led by the United Nations, undertook a thorough consultation process with all spheres of society and agreed on the following 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be pursued in the next 15 years. With the overarching aspiration of getting people and planet closer together and leave no one behind, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a unique opportunity to inspire global action for development worldwide, including the field of Sport for Development and Peace. Sports have proven to be a cost-effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. Since the inception of the MDGs in 2000, sport has played a vital role in enhancing each of the eight goals, a fact which has been recognized in numerous Resolutions of the General Assembly. In the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sports role for social progress is further acknowledged: "Sports is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives." Driven by this milestone recognition and based on the past success of Sports for Development and Peace activities and programs across multiple sectors, sport will continue to advance global development assisting in the work towards, and the realization of, the SDGs. The United Nations envisages sport to do so as an important and powerful tool with the potential to tackle challenges entailed in each of the 17 SDGs.

Our Member States

WSA-IGO was created following the adoption of the Rabat Declaration in Morocco, in May 2007 by the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Niger, and the Dominican Republic, and its subsequent presentation and registration with the Economic and Social Council UN-ECOSOC (E/2007/NGO/1)(3) in July 2007. By April 2009 WSA had grown to include 24 Member states, increasing to 34 in January 2016, with a combined population base of 574 million.

Contact Us

Get In Touch

For more information contact us at:

World Sports Alliance IGO

  • Phone : +1 (917) 388-2310
  • Email :
  • ADDRESS 845 United Nations Plaza, Suite 43B New York, NY, 10017