Annen ajatelmia

Puheeni Euroopan neuvoston parlamentaarisessa yleiskokouksessa 12.10.2016

Keskiviikko 12.10.2016 klo 13:39

Mr President, dear colleagues,

I would like to thank the rapporteur for raising these important issues.

Sport plays an important role for social cohesion as it gives opportunities for all people, regardless of sex, ability, nationality or culture to meet and interact, thus consolidating the culture of “living together”. And this is what it is all about, sports and exercise can be a uniting factor also when there is no common language.

The effective integration of migrants and refugees is currently a key issue in many countries. This is a challenge especially when different cultures and traditions are supposed to work together side by side -  not opposite each other.

Since 2011 Finnish municipalities have had the opportunity to apply for grants for the integration of migrants through sport. The project aims to join migrants and the original population together in sports activities.

This report calls on public authorities to increase involvement of school and university sports in the promotion of “sport for all”, together with sports organizations and with a special focus on young people. Finland is a frontrunner also on this issue. One of Finland’s top priorities is to increase activities that prevent health problems and promote school peace.

A project called ”moving schools” was started in Finland in 2010. More than 1700 schools in Finland participate in this project, covering nearly 80% of the pupils in Finnish basic education.  These schools challenge traditional ways of learning: pupils sit less, education is supported through functional practices, exercise is organized during breaks and pupils are encouraged to be physically active on their way to school. Pupils are included in the planning, decision-making and activities and it has improved the school atmosphere and the pupils’ social skills and learning.

The importance of sport is also emphasized in early childhood education. Hundreds of day care centers and extracurricular clubs have added exercise to their curricula.

The Finnish equality program underlines that early childhood education and schooling should promote equality. Finland is currently initiating a program to introduce girls and boys to both male- and female-dominated jobs. I am glad that one focus of this project is to support career choices for migrant girls.

In order to support the possibility of girls to be active in sports, the Finnish equality program encourages to take both sexes into account when building sport facilities. Equality is also included in the criteria for sports organization grants. The governmental sports council oversees the fulfilment of equality and parity.

Next year Finland will celebrate 100 years of independence, and our theme for the celebration is ”Together”. The festivities will include also sports related programs.

The celebration is open to all Finns and friends of Finland. I encourage you all to come and exercise with the 100-yearold, but energetic Finland.

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