Geneva: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed a new cooperation agreement on Saturday (May 16) to promote healthy lifestyles including physical activity, sport and active recreation, in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Through the new agreement which was signed at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, the IOC and WHO are demonstrating their shared commitment both to promoting healthy society through sport, in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 3 (“Good health and well-being”), and to contributing to the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

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“Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

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He added, “We will benefit from WHO advice when addressing the challenges of the post-coronavirus society, where health will play a much more prominent role in public policies. We look forward to working even closer with WHO. The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programmes because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases.”

He continued: “As we are preparing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe environment for all participants, we are happy and grateful that we can continue to rely on the valuable advice of WHO.”

“I am pleased to formalise this longstanding partnership with the International Olympic Committee,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “WHO works not only to respond to diseases, but also to help people realise their healthiest lives, and this partnership will do exactly that. Physical activity is one of the keys to good health and well-being.”

The key objectives of the collaboration are as follows.

1. Joint action to support communications and advocacy for health and physical activity

2. Align policy to strengthen the support on NCD prevention and healthier lifestyles through sport 

3. Strengthen the health preparedness and legacy of the Olympic Games

4. Strengthen health promotion, policy and action through the Olympic Movement  

5. Support and strengthen collaboration on NCD prevention and physical activity promotion between the health and sports sectors