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“We are building bridges between e-sports and sports with UNESCO” – Global Esports Federation

One of the key objectives of UNESCO’s Fit for Life programme is to increase youth participation in physical activity and sports, which suffered a steep decline in the wake of COVID-19. “We know that young people really had a very hard time during COVID and now we are facing the mental health crisis, but we believe that sports can be the answer,” Gabriela Ramos, assistant director general for the social and human sciences at UNESCO, stated on Monday (June 26) during the opening of the Multistakeholder Forum at MINEPS VII. The pandemic however acted as a catalyst for the rise of eSports, which promotes a sedentary lifestyle.

Isaac Piña, director general of the Municipal Commission for Physical Culture and Sport of León in Mexico, was on the panel that discussed the challenges and barriers to participation in sport for youth and he decried the long hours children spend on social media nowadays. “Sometimes it is six to seven hours a day in my country,” he said, adding that seven out of 10 Mexicans suffer from a degree of obesity or are overweight. “There are studies in our country which show that 40% of people that used to do sport dropped it after the pandemic.” According to Piña León has a very young population with an average age of 29.

Interestingly, the Global Esports Federation has been a key partner for UNESCO since March 2021 and on Tuesday (June 27) pledged its unwavering support for Fit for Life.

CHALLENGING ISSUES “We are proud to have established purpose-driven partnerships with UNESCO and other international organisations addressing some of the world’s most challenging issues and showcasing our firm commitment towards that vision. We call this our Global Social Impact Initiative and we are honoured to play our part to connect the billions of gamers around the world to join the Fit for Life Alliance, contributing to the UN agenda towards 2030 and creating the conditions for a brighter future for youths in particular.

BUILDING BRIDGES “Together with UNESCO, we aim at building bridges between e-sports and sports, enabling impact at a global scale for the benefit of humanity, supported by our global partners.

TACKLING PHYSICAL INACTIVITY “Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to tackling physical inactivity, safeguarding and mental health, social exclusion and inequalities. We pledge and commit to providing digital capabilities, knowledge, expertise, human and economic resources for the implementation of fit for life,” an excerpt from the pledge delivered by the Chief Executive Officer, Paul J Foster.

HELP US IMPROVE During the press conference after the opening of MINEPS VII, Gabriela Ramos, responding to a question on how Global Esports Federation can help UNESCO achieve its goals for Fit for Life, said they are aware of the sedentary nature of esports and that is why joining forces with GEF is important. “They (GEF) have 3.5 billion players, 3.5 billion is just huge. We are going to be working with them to incorporate physical activity in those games, so if you want to advance to the next level, for instance, you might need to go and run, and that will be fantastic because that will really help us to improve.”

She added that more than anything the message is: “We are not doing enough in sports, that we are not financing sports enough and that we are not understanding the value of sports.”

Credit: AIPS Media

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