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Speech by Mr Anders Ygeman on Sports and Sustainable Development Goals in Childhood: Societal issues regarding appropriate physical activities

Dear Ministers and participants,

It is a pleasure to address this important conference as a start of our common EU Trio-Presidency with France, Czech Republic and Sweden.

I will give a brief overview of the situation in my country, and I hope the exchange of experiences during the conference will enrich all of us to find new ways forward to strengthening the opportunities of children and youth to be bee active in sport and physical activities – irrespective of gender, socio-economic background, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

When children and youth get the support they need early in life, their opportunities for the future will increase. Sport can be an important function to achieve this goal.

Participation in sport clubs in Sweden often leads to that children from different parts of a city come together irrespective of socio-economic or ethnic background. Sport thus can contribute actively to social cohesion and contacts are established that would be difficult otherwise.

In parts of Sweden socio-economic segregation has become a growing problem.

There are significant differences in living conditions and conditions for upbringing, for opportunities and prospects in different areas within the same city. Children and youth in areas with socio-economic challenges are particularly vulnerable.

The pandemic is having a disproportionate negative effect on children and youth in these neighbourhoods. We have noticed that sport participation in activities for children and youth have decreased with 20 per cent all over the country and we know that it will be a challenge to get back to the same level as before.

Combatting segregation is therefore one of the Government’s top priorities and we know that the sport movement and voluntary leaders is important to reach new groups of young people. Equally important is to recruit and include new leaders to the sport movement. Looking at the statistics over the amount of men and women leaders in sports, I can conclude that we still have a long way to go reaching the goal of gender equality.  

Bearing this in mind, my government has recently increased the budget for sport organisations to enable them to reach out and increase the sport participation and broaden the leadership and gender equality within the movement when the pandemic hopefully soon will be over.

Thank you for your attention!


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