6 Jun 2024

Milano Cortina 2026’s historic first time at the UN

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I referenti di Milano Cortina 2026 all'ONU

An event to remember in New York that saw the GEN26 Education Programme take centre stage in the debate promoted by the IOC with the UNODC

The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in the spotlight at the UN. The Fondazione Milano Cortina 2026 spoke at the United Nations headquarters in New York in the debate promoted by the International Olympic Committee, titled “SC:ORE - Sport against Crime: Outreach, Resilience, Empowerment of At-Risk Youth”. It was a joint initiative with UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and, historically, the first time that an Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games was invited to share its experience at the UN.


GEN26 at the United Nations

Representing the Fondazione Milano Cortina 2026 in this prestigious context was Domenico De Maio, Education & Culture Director, who spoke about how to prevent violence and crime among young people through sport. In particular, he explored the topic in relation to the Italian youth social context and synergies with the education system, such as the Milano Cortina project in schools, the case history at the Juvenile Prison in Nisida (Naples) and the initiatives carried out in partnership with local associations. 

“It was an honour to participate in this historic event at the United Nations and to share with the representatives of the Member States the path we have started with the GEN26 Education Programme, particularly in communities at high risk of juvenile crime, using sport as a driver to transform communities and the lives of the most vulnerable”, explained De Maio.  “Sport has the power to inspire and help young people transform their anger, loneliness and fear of failure into positive feelings”.  

“At the United Nations”, he continued, “we emphasised the importance of valuing key figures such as educators and increasing the presence of sports spaces in high-risk neighbourhoods, making them structural and permanent, but above all increasing a mass prevention activity through sport. In 2019, when Milano Cortina won the bid to organise the 2026 edition of the Olympic Games, one of the cornerstones of our candidature dossier was the goal to involve 8 million young people, and this remains our focus”.


A better world through sport

Highlighting the IOC’s commitment to the issue was seven-time Olympic swimming medallist Kirsty Coventry, a current member of the Executive Board. The former Zimbabwean swimmer highlighted how sport has repeatedly been recognised as an important tool for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The IOC’s vision is to build a better world through sport and the strategic roadmap, the Olympic Agenda 2020+5, places the role of sport at the heart of realising sustainable development goals. Coventry went on to reiterate the Olympic Movement’s readiness to be a strong partner in addressing the challenges of our communities through sport and told of the Olympic Movement’s peacekeeping mission for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games, with the participation of athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.

The round table provided a further opportunity to share best practices from different regions, highlighting how sport can play a crucial role in empowering young people and community members to become active agents of positive change.

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