The first international conference "For Sports and Development", devoted to the role of sports in the life of society today, closed on Tuesday in the township of Macolan (Bern Canton) in western Switzerland.
The three-day discussion between representatives of the United Nations and its ad-hoc agencies, the sport movement, and political, public and scientific quarters of 150 countries resulted in the adoption of the Macolan Declaration, which was signed by all conference participants, and also of the recommendations for its implementation. The right to be the first to sign this fundamental document was granted by the conference organisers to Vyacheslav Fetisov, Chairman of the Russian State Sports Committee, a well-known hockey player in the past.
The conference participants call upon the world community to use more fully the potential of sport for strengthening mutual understanding and cooperation between the peoples in the interests of solving the problems of economic and social development, for strengthening peace and general stability. The conference recommended to make sport a component in the programmes for cooperation and humanitarian aid, and in more general terms - to substantially intensify the role of sports in youth affairs and in raising the level of culture and the health of the population.
As was stated by the United Nations Secretary General's adviser on sports Adolf Ogi, who was the initiator of the convocation of the conference, at the end of March, this year, a special report on the results of the sport forum has to be submitted to Kofi Annan. It is expected that the role of sports, as one of the most important factors in implementing the tasks of the United Nations, will be discussed at the UN General Assembly in 2004.
In the context of the conference in Macolan, Fetisov will meet on Tuesday with President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge. The IOC president supported the initiative of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on attaching an official status to the International Youth Games which are held in the Russian capital.
In furtherance of the recent meeting of Jacques Rogge with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the head of the IOC was given an additional information on the theme of the Games of the Peoples of Russia. It is reported that Jacques Rogge positively assesses the intention of the Russian side to resume the Games and again confirmed that he would render possible support to these competitions.