Report of the CIGEPS Working Group
on Traditional Games and Sport

(Publication Year  2003-07-02)


1. The Working Group on Traditional Games and Sports within UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) met in Hanover and Duderstadt (Germany) from 16 to 20 June, 2000.

2. The meeting was organized and hosted by Mr. Hermann Bringman, Director of the Department of Sports of the Government of Lower Saxony (Germany). The coordinator of the working group was Dr Piyasiri Vijaya-Sekere, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and member of CIGEPS. His Excellency Mr. Syed Muazzem Ali, Ambassador of Bangladesh to France, participated in the meeting. Members from Cameroon, China and Greece were unable to attend and conveyed their regrets.

3. The Working Group benefited from the contribution of several well-known specialists in the field of traditional games and sports: Dr. Gudrun Doll-Tepper President of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (CIEPSS), Mrs. Gertrud Pfister, President of the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport (ISHPES), Mr Jürgen Palm, President of the Trim and Fitness International Sport for All Associations (TAFISA), an international non-governmental organization maintaining official relations with UNESCO.

4. The members of the Working group invited to participate in the ISHPES seminar and to the Festival of Traditional Games and Sport organized in parallel by TAFISA at Duderstadt on the theme Games of the Past – Sports for the Future?" in addition to participating in the conferences, workshops and debates were also able to take up informal contacts with specialists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Iran, Japan, Mexico and South Africa.

5. UNESCO’s proposed international charter on traditional games and sports was studied in-depth and copies of a draft preamble were distributed for comment to the specialists from the above-mentioned sporting bodies. It was agreed that a copy would also be sent to all Working Group members, to the CIGEPS, to the Youth and Sports Unit in the UNESCO Secretariat for suggestions. As soon as a draft of the Charter is available it will be (a) submitted to CIGEPS, (b) sent to the Office of International Standards and Legal affairs at UNESCO, (c) sent to the Executive Board for perusal and approval and finally (d) presented to the UNESCO’s General Conference.

6. The establishment of world heritage list of traditional games and sports was the subject of much debate and discussions on the best way to proceed. Given the problems to be solved concerning the selection process, choice of criteria, composition of the jury, the role of CIGEPS, and of international Non-governmental Organizations working in the area of sport, as well as of institutions, universities and other competent bodies, the working group decided that this question required further examination.

7. For the organization of national, regional or sub-regional festivals of traditional games and sports, it was agreed that in-depth consultations would be held with all the regional Vice-presidents of CIGEPS with a view to: (a) contacting competent individuals and institutions, (b) mobilizing the administrations responsible for sports within national and local authorities and requesting them to identify participants and provided detailed information, and (c) preparing provincial and national festivals that would coincide with religious and other festivals organized on a regular basis. It was also decided to invite international Non-governmental Organizations and specialized institutes to put together suggestions as to the planning, organization and funding of festivals of traditional sports and games.

8. The Third World Festival of Traditional Games and Sports was organized by TAFISA in Hanover, Germany after the Duderstadt working group meeting. On 20 June 2000, at the invitation of TAFISA, the members of the working group attended the opening ceremony of Third World Festival of Traditional Games organized within the framework of preparations for the Hanover World Exhibition "Expo 2000".

Hanover/Duderstadt, Germany, 16-20 June 2000