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H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister of State for Interior Affairs, Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General, Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), and other speakers attend a meeting called by the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in Doha yesterday.
Need to work together to protect sport: MinistDOHA: Qatar has urged creation of a regional platform to protect major sporting events and sport competitions at large in the Middle East and North Africa.
H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister of State for Interior Affairs, said: “While the ultimate responsibility for security belongs to the host country, we should all work together to assist each other for the protection of the common good: sport,” the Minister said.
The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) yesterday invited the Ministry of Interior to speak on the issue.
The meeting was jointly organised by UNICRI and the ICSS, the not-for-profit organisation specialising in sport safety, security and integrity.
Launched in 2002 and backed by the UN ECOSOC Resolution 2006/28, UNICRI is the United Nations Institute implementing a worldwide programme on Major Events Security.
This programme aims to provide technical assistance and advisory services to policy-makers and practitioners planning major events, with a specific focus on the dissemination of best practices and development of coordination mechanisms and standards.
The meeting was opened by Sheikh Abdullah, and attended by high-level representatives of the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the European Commission, the Organization of American States, and several governmental authorities from countries around the world.
Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, United Nations, urged all countries to be committed in protecting sport.
“The United Nations is well aware of the role that sport can play to promote peace and development. Through sporting activities we can teach positive social values that can benefit local communities as a whole,” Lemke said.
“Therefore, it is of the upmost importance that we address sport from a safety and security standpoint, to ensure participation irrespective of age, gender, race, religion and ability.
“Furthermore, for sport to continue to be considered as a positive learning experience and teach fair play values, it is important that all stakeholders work together to combat corruption and illegal activities targeting sport in order to uphold its integrity.”
Speaking about the meeting, Mohammed Hanzab, President of the ICSS, added: “We are very proud that our initiative with UNICRI has received such attention within the international community. Countries in the region should lead the process; they possess all the necessary human resources and skills to develop their sport systems and infrastructures in an environment of safety, security and integrity.”
He added: “We are available to support such a process by developing the necessary mechanisms and tools to help them work together and to mobilise additional support from different sectors.”
The meeting underlined the need to bring to the attention of all Ministers of the Interior around the region the issue of sport protection in order to address it in a more coordinated and comprehensive way by developing a common platform.
Jonathan Lucas, UNICRI Director said: “We are witnessing incredibly rapid development as well as an increase of expertise in the region with regard to the security of major sporting events. The Pan-Arab Games, the African Cup of Nations, the Gulf Cup of Nations and the 2022 FIFA World Cup are clear examples that the Middle East and North-Africa are considering sport as an opportunity for socioeconomic development,” Lucas said
“UNICRI operates within the framework of the unique mandate to provide assistance to countries preparing for the security of major events. We are keen to make our expertise available and work in cooperation with the ICSS for the protection of sport competitions in the MENA Region.
“We are ready to share information on the models we have successfully implemented in the Americas and Europe, in cooperation with the Organization of American States and the European Commission respectively.
“However, we believe a model can only be effective once it is adapted and expanded with the concerned parties. That is why the future of sport in the MENA region is, first of all, in its own hands.” THE PENINSULAer