The first day of the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI) wrapped up today in Kazan. Participants of the conference – up to 700 representatives from more than 100 member states of UNESCO – discussed issues of sport’s sustainable development and inclusive access to sport.
Before the plenaries began, the delegates elected the President of the MINEPS VI conference. After the voting by secret ballot was held, Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Pavel Kolobkov, was announced the President of the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI).
Speakers at the first panel discussion were Minister of Sport of Russia, Pavel Kolobkov; professor of the College at Brockport, State University of New York, Cesar Torres, and Richard Bailey, Sport and Health Manager at the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE).
The conference participants discussed the comprehensive vision of sport development through the example of developing countries and also key problems that hinder this development.
The second plenary featured a multilateral discussion of sport’s maximum contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Speakers at the plenary were Ju Ho Chang, President of the Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA); Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and Russia’s Minister of Sport, Pavel Kolobkov.
During the break between two plenaries, the special guests of the conference – Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vitaly Mutko, and President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, – took questions from journalists.
When asked about the choice of Kazan as the host city for the conference, Vitaly Mutko mentioned the Tatarstan capital’s contribution to sport development: “In recent times Kazan has achieved a quantum leap in the development of sports infrastructure. We have Moscow, we have Saint-Petersburg; Sochi has transformed after the Olympics; presently we invest in Krasnoyarsk (I hope that after 2019 it will also become a host city for major international events) but at the moment it’s Kazan that holds the title of Russia’s sports capital. The city only needs a good track and field stadium (the city’s authorities should probably consider the reconstruction of the Central Stadium) and a velodrome; with these venues under its belt the city will be able to host competitions and events of any size and scale.”
“This conference considers three global challenges: access to sport for all categories of population, elaboration of single approaches and sport development as part of the SDGs. Closely cooperating with international sports organisations, the Russian Federation would like to work its way forward. We have our plan of actions and step by step we are achieving mutual understanding with our colleagues,” said Vitaly Mutko.
“MINEPS VI is a real opportunity to show our country’s and our republic’s achievements in sport and physical education. Indeed, we have prepared and delivered a number of large-scale sporting events that we can be proud of: the 2013 Summer Universiade, the 2015 FINA World Championships, and the FIFA Confederations Cup. At present we are gearing up for the FIFA World Cup and developing the Russian Health and Fitness Programme. Here, at this conference, the world can see our experience; we can share it with everyone. That’s why I’m confident that the MINEPS conference is a good opportunity to demonstrate our sports-related accomplishments and our country's huge potential,” said the President of the Republic of Tatarstan.
“I think that the conference is held succesfully. During MINEPS, delegates are granted the unique opportunity to discuss collectively key issues of global sport development. We have lots of meetings and negotiations. For instance, I had talks with representatives of the Belt Wrestling International Association and we've reached an agreement to support this sport in Thailand. We scheduled exhibition fights to be held in Bangkok. I believe our people will also enjoy the beauty and energy of belt wrestling that is so popular in Tatarstan,” said Tourism Development Officer at Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Naranya Bangor, after one of the meetings.
“I liked Kazan very much. This is my second day in the city, but I’m already charmed by the beauty of the Tatarstan capital. Yesterday our delegation went on a sightseeing tour. Most of all, I was impressed by the Kazan Kremlin which is inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List,” said the Thai delegate.
The MINEPS VI conference will run in Kazan till July 16. A few more meetings and plenaries are scheduled for this day. The final outcome document will become the Kazan Action Plan, featuring the programme of sport development for the next decade.
Media and Communications Department of Directorate for Sports and Social Projects