This week (7 and 8 of February), a Ministerial Conference organised by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
Titled ‘Sports and Sustainable Development Goals in Childhood’, the two-day conference invited experts, athletes and representatives of the European sports movement and European Union to discuss the role of physical activity in youth development and education to societal issues.
French Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Xing Qu, and Head of the Sport Unit at the European Commission, Floor van Houdt, and Director of Environmental Excellence of the Paris 2024 OCOGwere amongst the distinguished attendees in the French capital.
Sarah Ourahmoune, Olympic silver medalist in Boxing, FIFA World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff, Justine Hénin, former world No. 1 tennis player, and Pierre Vaultier, two-time Olympic Gold Champion snowboarder, were each key speakers on panels that addressed topics like EU investment, environmental challenges in sport, physical literacy and existing and recommended actions at national and EU level.
Minister Maracineanu emphasised the French Presidency's commitment to sport. “I hope this conference will open up more shared prospects at European level,” she said. “Not only for our public sports policies, but also for all stakeholders in education.”
Floor van Houdt praised the Erasmus+ Programme as a successful method to conduct sport-related projects that engaged young people with key stakeholders and also highlighted the European Week of Sport. “The Commission’s message is ‘get out there, be active’,” she told the conference.