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Ogi told to carry on

Ogi says his work at the UN is just beginning Keystone

Former Swiss sports minister Adolf Ogi has been asked to continue his work as the United Nations Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.

This content was published on January 21, 2002 - 17:29

Ogi was originally appointed to the role on a one-year basis in February 2001. Creating the role especially for the Swiss politician, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he wanted Ogi to help him "reach out to the world of sport in order to promote understanding and support for the work of the United Nations."

On Monday, UN spokeswoman Marie Heuzé confirmed that Ogi had been asked to stay in the post for at least another year.

Early stages

Speaking to swissinfo shortly afterwards, Ogi said his work at the UN was still in the early stages.

"The first 12 months have all been about getting the message through," Ogi insisted. "Inside the UN I've been informing the separate agencies how sport can be an instrument for creating a better world. And outside the UN I've been trying to pass on that same message to sports federations, governments, NGOs and journalists."

The next major step in communicating that message will come at February's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City where Ogi has arranged a round table discussion on "the world and sport", presided over by the UN Secretary-General.

Concrete measures

Ogi told swissinfo that he hoped to have got his message across to all those concerned by the end of the year, after which he plans to set out a series of concrete measures by which sport can be used to ease global differences.

"The decision of the two Koreas to walk together at the opening of the Sydney Olympics was an example of what can be achieved," Ogi said. "Those athletes showed that they didn't want any more war and demonstrated how sport can help."

Government funding

While Ogi has now been given the go-ahead by the UN to continue in his latest role, the former cabinet minister must still get approval from his old colleagues.

Although working for the UN, Ogi's expenses and travel costs are covered by a SFr 120,000 contribution from the Swiss foreign ministry. Ministry spokesman Livio Zanolari said a decision on renewing the grant would be made by the cabinet before the end of April.

swissinfo with agencies

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