Acknowledgement takes place in the context of the 4th Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit
Dakar, Senegal, January 15, 2014 – CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb has been honored with a special recognition by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Webb received the 2013 Protect the Goal Special Award for the Diaspora at the 4th Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit for his exceptional work in utilizing sport to advocate for social development. The theme of the summit concerns youth unemployment in the post-2015 development agenda of the United Nations.
UNAIDS presented this recognition to individuals from the African Diaspora whose contribution to promoting social good through sport has been exemplary. According to Senior Adviser to UNAIDS, Dr. Djibril Diallo, Webb’s efforts “have demonstrated the highest commitment to this vision of creating a better world through sport.”
“CONCACAF feels privileged to partner with the United Nations in the framework of our social responsibility initiatives, to reach out to millions of young people with prevention messages towards a healthier society,” said Webb during his acceptance speech during the Gala Dinner held at the Grand National Theater.
On April 19, 2013, CONCACAF and UNAIDS signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work together in the AIDS response, particularly among young people. This is an unprecedented commitment to carry out joint advocacy and communication activities in all of CONCACAF’s regional competitions in support of the UNAIDS Protect the Goal campaign.
The Confederation embarked on the dissemination of the Protect the Goal message to thousands of football aficionados. This entailed the presentation of the campaign banners and a pledge read by the captain of each of the participating teams before the games throughout all its tournaments.
“This beautiful sport is filled with passion, and passion is the starting point of all achievement. It's the energy that fuels our dreams. The dream that we can be something bigger than ourselves. That the currents of change can build a bigger wave with the power to act in support of a healthier and more conscious society,” added Webb during his address.
Throughout this past year, football has provided a platform to increase the global visibility of UNAIDS and its work in the AIDS response. Given the size of the CONCACAF tournaments, both in attendance and viewership, these events provided an opportunity for UNAIDS to send its message across colossal audiences and identify potential new sponsors and partners.
Globally, an estimated 4.6 million young people 15 to 24 years of age are living with HIV. About 2,300 young people are infected with HIV each day. This means that 100 people get infected each day. One person per minute.
“We felt we could use the power of our sport to reach out to youth with a message of awareness. Gold Cup 2013, our biggest tournament, conveyed UNAIDS’ message to 500,000 fans and more than 60 million viewers,” said Webb.
The 4th Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit, which is attended by five hundred youth leaders from 54 countries of Africa, the Diaspora in the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, is held at the King Fahd Palace hotel up to 17 of January. Youth leaders are expected to adopt the Dakar Declaration in which they will reiterate their plan to play an active role in international consultations under way in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda of the UN.
The main objective of the youth summit, organized by the Pan-African Youth Leaders Network of the United Nations for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (ROJALNU/MDGs) in collaboration with UNAIDS and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), is to provide a platform for youth leaders from Africa and the Diaspora to discuss and share innovative ideas on key issues of sustainable human development. Other themes pertaining to the demographic dividend, gender violence, youth and adolescents’ reproductive health issues, HIV/AIDS and information and communication technologies are also being discussed during the week-long summit.
The summit has been held under the patronage of His Excellence Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, and His Excellency Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of the Republic of Mali. High-ranking personalities attending include Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Under- Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNFPA, Cheikh Hadjibou Soumare, President of the Commission of West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Benoît Sambou, Minister of youth, professional training and employment of Senegal, and other high-ranking officials of inter-governmental organizations such as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, civil society and the private sector.