UN-HABITAT is teaming up with the International Association of Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) to push for more parks, sports facilities and urban recreational spaces in towns and cities around the world.
At a meeting in Cologne 26 October to mark the occasion of the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, IAKS and UN-HABITAT agreed to prepare an Plan of Action to start the conception, planning, and provision of playgrounds, parks, and recreation facilities around the world, especially in the towns and cities of developing countries where such facilities have either fallen derelict or are lacking.
“Having city parks and recreation facilities makes for a better living environment in a world where most of us already live in towns and cities. In this rapidly urbanising world, proper urban recreation facilities, are essential for a socially sustainable urban environment,” said UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.
Officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee, IAKS, a non-profit organization founded in Cologne, Germany in 1965, today has members in more than 100 countries. It is considered the most important global organizations in the world in this field. For UN-HABITAT, the United Nations lead agency in sustainable human settlements, the partnership falls well within the requirements of the UN General Assembly resolution recognising the power of sports as a means to promote education, health development and peace. The resolution proclaimed 2005 the International Year of Sport and Physical Education.
Said IAKS President Dr. Stephan J. Holthoff-Pfoertner: “Physical activities, sport and recreation are a fundamental part of human development and of the socio economic developmental process in every country. These activities are particularly important in developing countries where the population has more needs and less opportunities. The joint UN-HABITAT and IAKS initiative will identify fields of action for providing basic sports infrastructure in all parts of the world.”
IAKS plans to hold a seminar at the World Urban Forum III (WUF) in Vancouver, Canada next year.