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Bach attends United Nations General Assembly and extends IOC ties with UN Women

Bach attends United Nations General Assembly and extends IOC ties with UN Women
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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has travelled to New York City for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, where he signed a renewed partnership with UN Women.

It continues the work between the organisations which dates back to 2012, and in the latest agreement aims to promote "gender-responsive policies, governance and investment", safe and equal opportunities for women in sport, prevent gender-based violence and strengthen communication and collaboration.

Among the initiatives planned is an extension of the "One Win Leads to Another" programme, launched to use sport to prevent violence against girls and women in Brazil from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, through the Gender Equality Through Sport Bridging Project across Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia Pacific.

A two-year general plan of activities outlines objectives to be achieved by the IOC and UN Women.

The IOC claimed the renewed agreement demonstrated its commitment to advancing gender equality, with Bach hailing the latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

"Sport has the potential to transform lives, and the extension of our partnership with UN Women will help us to ensure that all women and girls have the opportunity to benefit from this unique power of sport," he said.

"With this new MoU, we will enhance our ongoing initiatives to encourage sports participation among girls and advance towards gender equality."

IOC members Laura Chinchilla from Costa Rica, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović from Croatia and Reema Bandar Al-Saud joined Bach for the signing ceremony with UN Women executive director Sima Bahous.

Bahous welcomed the renewal of ties with the IOC.

"Sport is an unrivalled asset to help us to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, and to ensure women’s full and equal participation in leadership and decision-making," she said.

"There can be no higher goal, and no greater win for us all, and we are honoured to be renewing our partnership with the IOC to work towards this target together."

During Bach's Presidency, the IOC's relations with the UN have strengthened, with its secretary general António Guterres attending the Opening Ceremony of last year's Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Human rights groups had urged Guterres to decline his invitation because of concerns about China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, with a UN report released after Beijing 2022 in September last year finding "serious human rights violations".

Bach took part in the World Health Organization's (WHO) 75th anniversary celebrations, including the Walk the Talk New York in Central Park in which participants were invited to run, walk or use their assistive device on a four-mile route.

National Olympic Committee Kenya President and IOC member Paul Tergat, a two-time 10,000 metres Olympic silver medallist and former marathon world record holder, and WHO director general Ayoade Alakija were among those who joined Bach at Walk the Talk New York.

In addition, Bach received an invite to the 2025 UN Climate Change Conference, better known as COP30, in the Brazilian city of Belém which has been branded "the gateway to the Amazon".

This followed a meeting with Brazilian Minister of Cities Jader Barbalho Filho.

Bach met another South American leader, Paraguayan President Santiago Peña, along with the country's IOC member Camilo Pérez López Moreira.

Peña and Pérez López Moreira expressed Paraguay's interest in staging the 2030 Youth Olympic Games, for which a host is yet to be decided.

The high-level week of the UN General Assembly began yesterday and is due to run until Friday (September 22).

Photo: IOC
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