Lesotho is set to host the inaugural joint Regional Sports Forum for Southern Africa under the theme “Towards a collective vision and harmony in sport” in Maseru on 13 and 14 November 2019. The Sport Forum, jointly organised by African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and Confederation of Southern African National Olympic Committees (COSANOC) is aimed at promoting harmony among all sports delivery agencies in order to create goal congruency that stimulates sustainable development of sport.
International, regional and local sport bodies are set to participate in this first of its kind Sports Forum. Such umbrella bodies as the African Union (AU), SADC and Ministers responsible for sport in the ten AUSC Region 5 Member Countries will be part of the delegates to this historic event. All Directors of sport, Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of the Sports Commissions/Councils, Presidents and Secretaries General of National Olympic Committees in Region 5 together with the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), African Paralympic Committee (APC), International Olympic Committee (IOC), Association of African National Olympic Committees (ANOCA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Confederation of Schools Sports Associations of Southern Africa, (COSSASA) and Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) have been invited to this Forum. Other key strategic stakeholders that include the ANOCA Athletes Commission, RADO, Regional Sports Confederations and International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport Africa representative will be part of the proceedings. The Forum has an interesting flavour in that delegates from Serbia and Singapore will be part of the forum to share their experiences in the area of promotion and sustenance of harmony among sports delivery agencies in their respective territories. Delegates from eleven other non- Region 5 African Commonwealth Member Countries are also expected to grace the occasion, adding weight to the magnitude of this Forum. A number of challenges in sport have been observed over a longitudinal period as a result of lack of collaboration, absence of common vision, misalignment of sports policies and programmes, uncoordinated sports competition programmes, lack of transparency on resource usage and accountability principles, general disharmony and conflict among key players at country level. Some of these challenges have led to restrictive and punitive measures such as suspension of some countries by International Sports Federations. In view of the above observation, the AUSC Region 5, COSANOC and CGF agreed to host a unique forum that would provide a platform for all key stakeholders to engage and establish common and convergent areas of interest to collaborate in the best interest of the athletes in particular and sport in general. Speaking on the relevance of the Forum, the Chief Executive Officer of the AUSC Region 5 Mr. Stanley Mutoya said, the Forum creates a platform for all the
participating organisations, including governments, local, regional, continental and international sport bodies to discuss policy alignment, collective agreement on competition programmes, ideal resource prioritisation and allocation, collaborative planning and a framework for accountability among others. “The Forum will also focus on creating a pragmatic framework for appropriate measures by all key players to safeguard athletes’ interests and provide them with opportunities to fully explore their sporting aspirations without undue impediments.” Mutoya said. The COSANOC Secretary General, Mr. Tuelo Serufho added impetus to the significance of the Forum in noting that the intention by the three organisations to bring together all key players to discuss harmony issues was a clear demonstration of the utility of the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the AUSC Region 5 and COSANOC. “This is one very impactful ways in which our organisations have demonstrated the need to move MoUs from being academic documents to practical execution. I am particularly impressed that we not only does the Forum present a platform for stakeholders in sport to find each other as African brothers and sisters but, we get a rare opportunity to benchmark with Serbia and Singapore and compare notes on how others in the diaspora have managed to develop and sustain global harmony in sport”, said Serufho.
The Commonwealth Games Federation Regional Vice-President Africa, Miriam Moyo said “We are delighted to be supporting the Forum of Sport Ministers and Sports leaders in Maseru, which presents another significant opportunity to showcase and support Africa’s essential role in global sport and sport for development. We hope this builds on our recent Commonwealth Games Federation’s recent General Assembly in Rwanda, as delegates from across the Commonwealth Sport Movement’s African Region convene with Government and international partners to look at new models of harmonious collaboration. This will benefit us all – from elite and grass roots athletes to citizens and communities – in our shared efforts to build peace, sustainability and prosperity through sport”.
The Forum is expected to draw valuable tie-framed resolutions which will be implemented over time. Measures to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the resolutions will also be drawn to avoid redundancy associated with glossy conferences and forums which end us not getting any follow-up and traction.
The African Union Sport Council Region5 (AUSC Region5) is the sports arm of the African Union (AU), which was once the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The main aim of the AUSC Region 5 is to use sport to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa i.e. sport as a vehicle for creating hope and encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender. The mandate includes coordination of sports development and sport for development within the Region and ensuring high performance and socio-economic transformation of societies through sport.
The AU divided Africa into five Regions due to the vastness of the continent and for effective coordination purposes. The AUSC Region 5 comprises of Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Confederation of Southern African National Olympic Committees (COSANOC) is a ten (10) member regional organisation belonging to the Olympic Movement and affiliated to the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). COSANOV seeks to promote the respect of the provisions of the Olympic Charter, clean sport, peace, women participation in sport, in addition to encouraging the promotion of sports ethics and demonstrating a responsible concern for environmental issues within member countries.
Commonwealth Games Federation
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation responsible for the strategic direction of the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games and associated projects and initiatives across the Commonwealth Sport Movement. Far more than a quadrennial sporting spectacle, we believe that sport is just the beginning. Working with our 71 CGAs across our six regions, and through sport, we build peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities across the Commonwealth.