Baku recently hosted the Seventh International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VII), bringing together more than 50 ministers and high-ranking officials, and over 540 representatives from 124 countries and international organizations.
This significant global event hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) aims to support international collaboration and the development of policies and strategies that promote physical education and sport worldwide.
In line with this, the MINEPS VII conference focused on specific topics and resources such as promoting sport for all, including individuals with disabilities, marginalised and fragile populations, combating different forms of violence in sport, promoting gender equality and inclusion in sport, combating doping in sport and guaranteeing fair play, as well as defending the importance of sport in sustainable development and peace building.
As an observer member, FISU was represented at MINEPS VII by its Acting President Leonz Eder and Fernando Parente, Director of Development and Healthy Campus. In addition to hearing interesting communications from different countries and NGOs, the aim of their participation was to allow them to gain better knowledge of how UNESCO works in this sector, especially since FISU is about to send its application dossier to become a UNESCO official partner NGO with consultative status.
FISU also held bilateral meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, namely Farid Gayibov, Minister of Sports, and Mariana Vasileva, Vice Minister of Sports, and with the President of the University Sports Federation of Azerbaijan, Tofig Khanaliyev. They notably assessed the feasibility of organising FISU activities in the country in the coming years.
“We also used our time in Baku to meet with representatives from several nations and ask for more support to, and promotion of, University Sports in their respective countries,” said Leonz Eder. “In addition, we met with FISU partners from different NGOs with whom we already work in some international projects and initiatives.”
The conference produced the Baku Declaration which was adopted within the framework of the UNESCO Fit for Life sports programme. This UNESCO’s sport-based flagship programme is designed to accelerate COVID-19 recovery, support inclusive and integrated policy making, and enhance the wellbeing of youth around the world.
Powered by global partners, Fit for Life uses data driven sport interventions to tackle interrelated crises in physical inactivity, mental health and inequality.
Through its Healthy Campus programme, FISU will use “Fit for Life” as a new criterion for Universities around the world to implement and integrate this excellent UNESCO initiative.
The first MINEPS was held in Paris in 1976 and focused on promoting physical education as a fundamental right for all. Further editions took place in Moscow (RUS) in 1988, Punta del Este (URU) in 1999, Athens (GRE) in 2004, Berlin (GER) in 2013 and Kazan (RUS) in 2017.