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Shaping peace together: EU-UNDP inaugurate first Rugby Field in Libya

By AFP - Sep 23,2020 - Last updated at Sep 23,2020

Rugby teams before the inaugural match in Benghazi on Monday (Photo courtesy of UNDP)

BENGHAZI — On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have inaugurated the first Rugby field in Libya, located on the premises of the Benghazi University.

As part of the “Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery” project funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, UNDP constructed the field, which has a total area of 10,000 square metres, in partnership with the Benghazi University, the Benghazi Municipality and in collaboration with NGO “Rugby 2018”. 

The initiative was born out of the need for young people in Libya to be able to play and practice sports in a safe environment, as most sport clubs that exist are located within areas of military clashes. 

The Mayor of Benghazi Sagar Bou Jouari, UNDP Libya Resident Representative Gerardo Noto and the Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Libya Sandra Goffin, opened the ceremony together with representatives from the Rugby Arab Federation, African Rugby League and the Libyan Rugby National Federation. 

Mayor Sagar said: “The city of Benghazi could not triumph over terrorism until it turned to reconstruction and development projects; both infrastructure and human development.

The projects of Benghazi city were speeding against time to bring life back to its normalcy.

They include our partnership with UNDP and Benghazi University to realise this Rugby Field project, in order to encourage sportsmanship as well as to contribute to youth rehabilitation from the effects of war program. On my behalf and behalf of the city of Benghazi, I would like to extend my appreciation for everyone who contributed to constructing this city.”

 “I am proud to participate today on international Peace Day to inaugurate the first Rugby field in Libya, as youth is at the centre of all what UNDP does in this country. Engaging young people today is key to advance sustaining peace and inclusive development in Libya. Sport, in this case rugby, is a compelling tool to promote peace and I hope this field will bring young people together across boundaries and contribute to reconciliation and social cohesion,” Noto highlighted. 

On her part  Goffin, added: “Sport can support nation-building by creating a sense of national pride and unity. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the EU’s commitment to supporting peace and reconciliation, protecting human rights and promoting sustainable development for all in Libya.”

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