In 2020 the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and its co-implementing partners, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) launched the multi-year Global Programme on the Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and Its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE) at the UN HQs in New York. The Global Programme is conducted in close consultation with the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).
- increase Member States awareness of terrorism-related threats against vulnerable targets in the context of major sporting events and their ability to prevent and counter terrorist acts;
- promote sport and its values to build resilience to violent extremism, especially among youth;
- support Member States tointegrate sport values-based initiatives within national action plans for PVE.
The Global Programme established synergies with major sporting events organizers, sport federations and influential athletes to empower and inspire youth across nations.
Protecting major sporting events from terrorist attacks requires complex security and policing arrangements, such as securing locations, cybersecurity measures, managing and responding to attacks, communication, crowd management and first response operations. These critical measures require coordination for supporting not only the countries hosting the major sports events, but all other stakeholders potentially affected by terrorist threats as provided by UN Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017) on “soft” targets protection and the General Assembly’s seventh review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (75/291) adopted in June 2021. The latter calls upon Member States to strengthen efforts to improve the security and protection of particularly vulnerable targets, including sport events. Equally important, the same General Assembly resolutions encourages Member States, UN entities, regional and subregional organizations and relevant actors to involve youth in the promotion of peace, tolerance and intercultural and interreligious dialogue through sports activities to prevent their participation in acts of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism as previously recognized by the UN Security Council Resolution 2419 (2018) that acknowledged the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals connection with the UN Youth, Peace and Security objectives.
Within this spirit, the UN multi-year Global Programme on Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and Its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism comprises two distinct but complementary workstreams aiming to:
- strengthen the security of major sporting events and,
- promote the use of sport and its values as a tool to prevent violent extremism.