Call for sports institutions to join the Commonwealth Data Collection Project

SPORTS INSTITUTIONS are invited to join a project aimed at measuring the impact of sport and physical activity on sustainable development.

Across the Commonwealth, there is a lack of systematically collected data on the role of sport as a tool for development, which hampers its inclusion in social development policies and prolongs a protracted cycle of reduced investment.

To help break this cycle and highlight the contribution of sport to sustainable development, the Commonwealth Secretariat – in partnership with UNESCO – has developed a framework and toolkit to measure the contribution of physical education, physical activity and sport to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ).

The toolkit and framework, which has been in development for four years, is being used in countries such as Mauritius, Jamaica, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Canada, Lesotho and Namibia to fill this data gap and the first set of findings will be published in the first Global Sport and SDG Impact Report later this year.

However, the impact of COVID-19 has delayed momentum, with some countries only now re-devising how to get started with data collection.

A call for sports institutions to use the toolkit was made last week at the Sport for Health Conference at the World Health Innovation Summit (WISH) in Doha, Qatar .

Presenting and presenting on behalf of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caroline Brooks, Sports and SDG Project Manager, said: “The power of sport to do good is clearly understood, but where is the clear and hard evidence used alongside the demands for investment and business cases? prepared for sport?

“Articulating our arguments with solid data means that the contribution of sport, physical education and physical activity to sustainable development will be recognized as a necessary precursor for intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder support, which will make it key to justify the investment.

She added: “There is a clear need for more countries and institutions to invest financial and human resources in this area. We need organizations and governments to consider how they can publish their data so that more data can be collected and stronger conclusions can be drawn. »

Early feedback from countries shows that sports-related data exists, but once data collection is complete, it is often left raw, unprocessed and inaccessible. The lack of a common language for measuring impact is another problem the toolkit seeks to address.

Where the data has been mined, there are clear benefits.

In some countries, the supposed impact of sport is greater than expected, leading to more programming of activities intentionally designed to help achieve one or more of the SDGs.

Data also leads to stronger business cases for investing in sports. The data collected also allows users to track progress and make adjustments to programs if necessary.

Mauritius, for example, has used the indicators to demonstrate health problems related to diabetes and physical inactivity, leading the Mauritius Sports Council to invest in sport and physical activity programs designed to intentionally address these health problems.

Namibia’s use of the framework has led to investment in new hardware for its sports department and for its delivery agencies – laptops loaded with data collection software. In addition, Ministry staff and partners have improved their skills and understanding of the data collection and analysis process and will continue to build their own capacity. Closer working relationships between ministries, the National Statistics Agency and implementing partners were also reported. Namibia is looking for investment partners to help it continue its work in this area.

The Secretariat and UNESCO are currently preparing the first baseline report on how sport contributes to the SDGs, built from data sources mapped against the sport and SDG indicators in the framework and toolkit. It is expected to launch later this year.

The first report will present the data available in 2022, supported by qualitative case studies. It will make clear recommendations on how countries and institutions can get involved to drive adoption and data collection. It is expected that a report will be published every two years.

There is a need to improve the capacity to collect and analyze sports-related data on a large scale and this is our number one priority in the next phase of guiding the implementation of this global initiative.

If you would like to be part of planned activities in this area in the future, please contact the Commonwealth Secretariat – [email protected]

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