UNAIDS and International Olympic Committee strengthen partnership

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UNAIDS and International Olympic Committee strengthen partnership

26 October 2009

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UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé (left) and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge. Lausanne, 26 October 2009.
Copyright: IOC/Arnaud Meylan

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé earlier today met with Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

UNAIDS and IOC have a long standing partnership to enhance the role of sports organisations in the AIDS response which was formalized in the Memorandum of Understanding singed in 2004. The two organizations have also collaborated in efforts to raise AIDS awareness with coaches, athletes and sports personalities.

In 2005, an HIV prevention toolkit was developed which features practical information on HIV prevention programming and includes messages from international sports’ stars, some of whom are living with HIV. The tool kit has been translated into French, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Swahili and Spanish, with an Arabic version planned for 2010.

The partnership has since developed into a range of joint initiatives including the sponsoring by IOC of several regional workshops on HIV and sport, and a series of events to launch the translated versions of the toolkit.

I look forward to the growing relationship between IOC and UNAIDS. By working together in the spirit of the core values of the Olympic Movement—friendship, excellence and respect—we can be a force for positive change.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé

At the meeting, Michel Sidibé thanked the IOC for the role played by IOC on HIV advocacy leveraging the National Olympic Committees as implementing arms of the IOC in responding to the HIV epidemic.

Praising the work of the IOC, Michel Sidibé stressed the importance of partnerships like this one for the HIV response. “I look forward to the growing relationship between IOC and UNAIDS. By working together in the spirit of the core values of the Olympic Movement—friendship, excellence and respect—we can be a force for positive change.”

The IOC and UNAIDS both try to reach out to as many young people as possible. It is our common goal to use sport as a powerful tool in the education about and the prevention of HIV & AIDS across the globe.

Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)

"The partnership between our two organisations has been strong in the past and will be even stronger in the future,” said Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “The IOC and UNAIDS both try to reach out to as many young people as possible. It is our common goal to use sport as a powerful tool in the education about and the prevention of HIV & AIDS across the globe," Mr Rogge continued.

In countries with generalized epidemics, community based sports organizations and non-governmental organizations are particularly vulnerable to the impact of HIV, given that they often rely on people with specialized skills and volunteers who can be difficult to replace should they fall ill.

The partnership between UNAIDS and the IOC was particularly successful around the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The “Play Safe – Help Stop HIV – Play your part in protecting the world around you” campaign for the Beijing games, was jointly planned and executed by the IOC, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad and UNAIDS.

Highlights of the campaign include HIV awareness raising activities targeting migrant workers at construction sites of the Olympic venues supported by UNAIDS and a private partner. UNAIDS mobilized nine UN agencies, the Red Cross, Marie Stopes International as well as groups of people living with HIV, to train 7,000 Olympic volunteers on HIV prevention and countering stigma and discrimination.

The activities reached close to 100,000 young people that had volunteered for the Beijing Olympics with information about HIV and sexual health. 100,000 high quality condoms packaged in 50,000 leaflets with information on HIV prevention and anti-discrimination were made available in the clinics in the Olympic Villages.

During the meeting Mr Sidibé also congratulated the IOC on having been granted permanent observer status to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The decision pays tribute to the IOC’s efforts to contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals by using sport as a tool, the IOC and its partners implement various activities across the globe

At the meeting, Mr Sidibé and Mr Rogge also discussed future joint activities at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and London 2012 Summer Games.

The forthcoming collaboration between IOC and UNAIDS around the London Games will focus on HIV prevention as well as countering stigma and discrimination around HIV. Together IOC and UNAIDS can make a difference and promote the Olympic values and instil hope.