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International #SportDay: Driving positive change through football

International #SportDay

To mark this year’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, UEFA is taking part in a United Nations (UN) event highlighting how sport can advance the Sustainable Development Goals and promote peaceful and inclusive societies.

Sport’s universality and values make it uniquely positioned to act as a force for good, and the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), held annually on 6 April, is an opportunity to celebrate that unique position. As the world’s most popular sport, football has a key role to play – one that UEFA is committed to contributing to.
To celebrate the 2024 IDSDP, UEFA takes part in an event at the UN’s New York headquarters on 4 April titled ‘Sport for the Promotion of Peaceful and Inclusive Societies’. The event brings together members of the international sporting community to showcase how organisations, partnerships and programmes have successfully used sport to drive positive social change and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The event will be live-streamed on UN TV and UN YouTube channel on Thursday 4 April at 17:00 CET.

Michele Uva, UEFA’s director of social and environmental sustainability, presents at the event, to discuss the development and impact of the UEFA EURO 2024 environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy.

Michele Uva, UEFA’s director of social and environmental sustainability: “We are pleased to contribute to the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, sharing with the United Nations and its constituents our strategic approach to transforming the vision of UEFA EURO 2024 as the reference for event sustainability in the world of sports into reality. We welcome today’s opportunity to highlight the solutions being implemented for the tournament and will continue to advocate for the football community to play its part in mobilising collective action in support of sustainable development.”

A strategic approach to sustainability at UEFA EURO 2024

Uva outlines how sustainability has been integral to the organisation and delivery of EURO 2024, with a sustainability concept included in the bidding process. The UEFA EURO 2024 ESG Strategy is key to that endeavour, outlining a tangible route to success through 11 areas of action, 48 targets and 83 key performance indicators, alongside €32m of investment to catalyse 99 actions.

In taking a strategic approach to the tournament’s sustainability, UEFA aims to ensure that EURO 2024 takes responsibility for its impact off the field, while delivering long-term social impact and return on investment across society, in full alignment with the SDGs.

UEFA is confident that EURO 2024 can set new benchmarks for both football and other major sporting events when it comes to their sustainability.

Climate and social action at EURO 2024

To reduce the tournament’s environmental impact, the match schedule has been adapted to cluster games and promote short travel distances for fans and teams, while discounted public transport will be offered to spectators and media to help further reduce travel-related carbon emissions.

The UEFA EURO 2024 climate fund, meanwhile, will award a total of ed €7.m to amateur football clubs in Germany to support climate protection projects.

Key areas of action regarding social inclusion include maximising stadium accessibility, for example through the provision of audio description commentary and easy access seating at all matches.

Online abuse monitoring and grievance response systems are being implemented, while the promotion of diversity, inclusion, and equal rights and opportunities have been integral to the workforce recruitment and training processes.

A global community for positive change

The event was an opportunity to bring together athletes and experts from across the world to share best practices and explore opportunities for collaboration. Other speakers included the former Grenada international Jason Roberts, now chief football development officer at CONCACAF, while UN under-secretary-general for global communications Melissa Fleming moderated a panel discussion of prominent women in sport driving social change.
An example of that collaboration in action is the UN’s Football for the Goals initiative, of which UEFA is an inaugural member. Launched in 2022 – on the first day of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 – it engages with stakeholders to leverage the power of football to work towards achieving the SDGs. Members of the initiative, including 30 European football associations so far, commit to implementing sustainability, equality and equity across their practices, as well as raising the profile of the SDGs and demonstrating how sport and organisations can embrace sustainable practices.