BSDA took part in a European Sports Seminar in Ukraine

On October 28, 2019, in Kiev, Ukraine, the Second Seminar on the European Week of Sport Beyond Borders was held. Last year, European Sport Week went beyond the EU for the first time, with countries and regions from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership joining the initiative. In September 2018 a dedicated seminar was organised in Belgrade, Serbia to discuss different funding possibilities as well as share experience regarding EWoS. The event began with an expert seminar aimed at presenting the results of the European Week of Sport Beyond Borders 2019 and sharing good practices between the European Union countries, the Eastern Partnership countries and the Western Balkans. In addition, this seminar will be an opportunity to discuss EU funding opportunities, including the financial instrument for sport under the Erasmus + program of the European Union.

The second part of the event was dedicated to a high-level round table on How to get people to exercise more? The latest Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity from March 2018 revealed that nearly half of EU citizens declare that they never exercise or play sport (46% to be precise). Worryingly, the proportion of those who never exercise or play sport has increased from 42% to 46% since the previous Eurobarometer survey in 2009. This is a continuation of a general trend that we can see over the past years. Therefore, encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles has become a major societal challenge, which needs concrete action and initiatives across Europe. The main aim of the High Level Round Table on How to attract people to practice more sport? is to discuss, share and identify good practices in this area. On one hand the traditional sports such as football, handball or athletics and on the other hand new emerging ways of practicing physical activity like parkour, breakdance or zumba. The way Europeans wants to do sport is changing. At school traditional sports are not attracting enough young people. What changes should be done in terms of programmes, infrastructure and funding to make sport ‘a la mode’ again?

The event was attended by: Sergey Bubka (President of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee), Yves Le Lostecque (Head of Sport at the European Commission), Heidi Sulander (Chairwoman of the Working Group on Sport within the Finnish EU Council Presidency), Stefan Schleuning (Head of Communications, European Delegation to Ukraine), representatives of the International Olympic Committee and the European Olympic Committee, European sports organizations, representatives of ministries and national governing bodies port. During the event, Yoanna Dochevska (Chairwoman of the Bulgarian sports development association) had the opportunity to present to the participants the achievements so far at European level in the field of sport, as well as the possible scenarios for adaptation of the sector to the current challenges in order to achieve the sustainability, development and growth of sports organizations, and as a result of this investment - increase the number of citizens practicing sports and physical activity. The event was closed by Zabolsh Horvath (Cabinet of Tibor Navracic, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport), who presented a short report of the Commissioner Tibor Navracic's 5-year term, which is almost over, but takes into account numerous and sustained achievements in the sports sector in Europe.

During the event, participants watched a video from the first module of the Sport Diplomacy Academy, held in Sofia, from October 11-17, 2019, and gathered 80 sports administrators, coaches and volunteers from 4 countries. Sport Diplomacy Academy project is legacy of recent First Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, which took place in the first half of 2018. Project will focus on Western Balkans lot as a logical follow up of all implemented #EU2018BGMain activities: prioritizing the EU perspective and connectivity of the WB, referring to the Sofia Declaration and Sofia Priority Agenda. Both #EU and WB partners should continue to invest efforts in strengthening the cooperation and good practices exchange, focused on democracy, security and fundamental rights. The project ensures the educational mobility of coaches and other staff of sport organizations (incl. volunteers) linked to professional and grassroots sport. The four mobility modules, which will be implemented in each partner country, will improve the skills and competencies of a total of 80 sports professionals, as well as their qualifications, through learning mobility. The learning mobility is planned as an investment in human capital and a contribution to the capacity building of various sport organizations with clear focus on building a network of well-trained sport diplomats.

4 partner organizations are involved in the Sport Diplomacy Academy Project – Bulgarian sports development association, coordinator and initiator of the academy, Croatian sport organization – Rijeka sport association, ENDAS - Italian grassroots sport organization) and 1 WB (BRAVO - Bosnian Youth and sport NGO). The partners have been working together for several years, implementing projects of different scales and collaborating in different as sport, education and youth policy. The Sport Diplomacy Academy project is co-funded by the European Union.