Jen Macapagal, founder of the Singaporean sport-based organization, Race 2 Share, recently represented the Task Force at the Social Forum, hosted by the Human Rights Council (HRC), which was held at the United Nations European HQ, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The 2018 HRC Social Forum focused on linkages between sport and human rights, specifically how sport can promote gender equality, social inclusion, and opportunities to promote or protect human rights. The panel session Jen took part in focused on Youth and Future Generations and the barriers that most youth face to access sport.
In the session, Jen highlighted that socio-economic status, rapid unplanned urbanization, and poor quality of public spaces are some of the most influential barriers.
Given that evidence now shows that non-communicable diseases due to physical inactivity are one of the leading causes of death in the Asia-Pacific region, the Forum stressed the importance of grassroots initiatives as a tool to increase awareness of the benefits of physical exercise amongst youth.
The forum also discussed ways to institutionalize youth voices, and have them heard by policy makers and governments. As a member of the UNESCO Youth & Sport Task Force group, Jen emphasized that as more youth are now contributing to the evidence-base of good practice, their recommendations and feedback should be incorporated into sport policies and programmes. This will allow for youth sport programmes to be more reflective of the true needs of local young people, and be more engaging and effective in developing future generations through sport.
Since its creation in 2017, the Task Force has been working hard to expand its network and membership across the Asia-Pacific region to ensure diverse and inclusive representation.
The Task Force hopes that through our developing collective of young leaders across the region, who are using sport as a tool for good, our members can continue as Jen has, using the knowledge and experience of their own initiatives to advocate for the power of sport for development and peace.
Race 2 Share uses the sport of dragon-boating to promote social inclusion and provide support for foreign domestic workers.
You can find more about the organization here.