Dr Iain Lindsey is a Associate Professor in Sport Policy and Development at Durham University, UK.
Iain’s research has primarily examined sport policy and development, especially youth sport policy in the UK and the use of sport for development in Africa. This research has mainly been undertaking in local and community contexts and has drawn on theories and methodologies from the fields of political science and international development. In doing so, particular issues that are of interest to Iain are governance and partnership working, evidence-based policy and sustainable development.
Iain has published widely in sport, development and politics journals and has co-authored books on Sport Policy in Britain and Localizing Global Sport Development.
Sport and the Sustainable Development Goals: Can there be policy coherence in African contexts?
This paper will present a critical analysis of the positioning of sport as ‘an important enabler’ of the United Nations’ latest global development policy, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, it will examine the complex inter-relationships between sport and global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are particularly relevant in African contexts. This analysis will be underpinned by the concept of policy coherence which, as an SDG Target itself, draws attention to the potential for both synergies through which the contribution of sport to the SDGs can be enhanced as well as incoherencies related to sport that may detract from such outcomes. In developing its overarching arguments, the paper will focus on three examples, specifically: the common orientation of the Sport for Development and Peace ‘movement’ towards education-orientated objectives aligned with SDG 4; potential synergies between sport participation policies and the SDG 3 Target for reducing non-communicable diseases; and practices within professional football in relation to several migration-related SDG Targets. Each of the examples will be illuminated through reference to various policies, practices and issues evident within and across African countries and will, therefore, demonstrate the relevance of the SDGs across diverse sectors of the sport industry. As a result of the complexities identified across different contexts and SDGs, it will be argued that the pursuit of comprehensive policy coherence between sport, the SDGs and the wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is infeasible. Nevertheless, it will be argued that the concept of policy coherence should continue to be used by both African policy makers and researchers as a valuable lens by which factors that may enable and constrain various potential contributions of sport to a range of SDGs may be identified and considered.