The realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to follow the Millennium Development Goals, is one of those poster moments in global geo-politics. It seems the planet has finally come together to foster a beautiful world of lightness and love, safety and security. Of course, the reality is nothing like that. The world will likely go on its muddled and confused way, throwing up undeserving winners even as it it throws down innocent losers.
That's not being cynical. It's just an acceptance of the human condition. Sure, humanity can be wonderful. But it can also be brutal. Those truths are unlikely to change.
But, let's look on the up side. The balance can be shifted in favour of the more positive aspects and this is the value of documents such as the SDGs.
That's where we come in.
For us here at The Kick Project, the SDGs present a real opportunity to further ensure sport is in the tool box of solutions to poverty, conflict and community breakdown. While sport is not mentioned specifically in the SDG list of desired outcomes, it is very much part of the sub-text.
So much was confirmed as the SDG drafts were circulated and discussed. In June this year, Oliver Dudfield, Head of Sport for Development and Peace at the Commonwealth Secretariat, put it this way: “The Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport is adding an authoritative voice to the debate around the role of sport in the post-2015 development agenda. Evidence suggests that people who participate in sports and regular physical exercise lead longer, healthier lives, while communities that embrace sport as a development tool benefit from wider social and economic benefits. This has policy implications for governments seeking to maximise the contribution that sport can make.”
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee also said this, as the SDGs were reaching the finish line, "I sincerely hope that the Member States of the United Nations, while they negotiate to shape the future development agenda [see] the importance of sport, not only in health, but in peace and harmony, reconciliation, mutual understanding and respect for others, and fair games and rule of law and human rights."
Bach went to say to the UN Assembly this week that "Sport is natural partner when it comes to realising the ambitious agenda that will guide global development over the next 15 years."
We at The Kick Project have seen how this works. We have seen how sport brings people together, gets them making eye contact and having a laugh. We have been witness to how sport can enliven and lift whole communities. We have experienced the joy of watching kids who have been through the worst humanity has to offer being filled with joy with a football at their feet.
It's our job - and that of others in our field - to back the vision of sport as a healer and an enabler of humanity's better side. Sport is a powerful tool in areas of education, peace-building, personal healthcare and well-being, community stability and empowerment, all of which are etched into the SDGs.
We would go further. We here at The Kick Project reckon we could pretty much dispense with the suits, clear the furniture in the UN building and get a kick about going for just about any global problem you can name to begin to be solved.
The SDGs seek to make our world a better place. For us, they offer an exciting chance for us to prove our value in helping us all reach better conclusions, make better decisions, entrench compassion and respect at the core of all policy and to bring humanity back to humanity.