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Slovenia joins UNESCO’s Fit for Life initiative

The 7th UNESCO conference of ministers and senior officials responsible for physical education and sport concluded today in Azerbaijan. The conference adopted the Fit for Life partnership document, designed to accelerate COVID-19 recovery, support integrated policy making in sports, and enhance the wellbeing of youth around the world.

Participants are seated at a table.
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The prestigious sporting event, which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 26 to 29 June, brought together over 50 ministers and high-ranking officials and more than 540 delegates from 124 countries and international organisations. The Slovenian delegation in Baku was headed by Dr Mitja Blaganje, Secretary General at the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport.

In his address, Secretary General Dr Blaganje emphasised the awareness that physical activity is not just a hobby or a form of leisure, but a fundamental aspect of our overall wellbeing, health and happiness, as well as part of the economy and tourism. He said that in Slovenia we have recently undergone significant changes in the division of responsibilities between ministries. The Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport now covers the field of sports, while school and youth sports remain the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.

The conference adopted the Fit for Life partnership document, UNESCO’s sport-based flagship designed to accelerate COVID-19 recovery, support inclusive and integrated policy making in sports, and enhance the wellbeing of youth around the world.

“Slovenia boasts enviably high statistics, as the figures show that an average of 65 to 75 percent of the population regularly engaged in physical activity or sports over the last decade, which is why the country strongly supports the Fit for Life initiative, which recognises sport as a key pillar of society that connects people and contributes to health, education, society, and the economy,” emphasised Dr Blaganje.

He added that Slovenia has a successful Sport Educational Chart programme, which also uses technology and artificial intelligence to identify talent, which results in outstanding achievements in sports at the highest level. The newly launched SLOFit project extends the testing and measurement of individuals’ physical fitness to adults, with the aim of keeping them physically active and reducing healthcare costs. The Sport Educational Chart is a guide to overall wellbeing.

“Sport is considered to be one of the key factors of society and healthy economic development,” emphasised Dr Blaganje, urging participants to become ambassadors of physical activity and sports in their communities, as only together can we build a stronger, healthier and happier world. This is one of the reasons for Slovenia’s strong support of the Fit for Life initiative.

On the margins of the conference, Secretary General Dr Blaganje met with the Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sports Farid Gayibov, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Youth and Sports João Paulo Correia, and the Croatian Director-General for Sport, Krešimir Šamija.

In the framework of the meeting with Azerbaijani Minister Gayibov, Secretary General Dr Blaganje presented the organisation of sports in Slovenia and discussed cooperation in the field of development of winter sports. Minister Gayibov demonstrated his good knowledge of Slovenia and highlighted Slovenian sports achievements, especially in the field of gymnastics. They agreed that all common points were a good opportunity to upgrade the cooperation between the countries.  

The meetings with the Portuguese Secretary of State and the Croatian Director-General were mainly aimed at exchanging views on the organisation of major international sports events, the financing of sports, issues related to integrity in sports, the prevention of violence at sports events, match fixing, and other topical issues.