By Emily Goddard

Ban Ki-moon 060613June 5 - Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations (UN), has been awarded an Olympic Order in recognition of his personal commitment to using sport as a tool for social change.

The 68-year-old South Korean, who has led the UN since succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007, received the honour from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge at the third International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development, currently taking place at the UN headquarters in New York.

The IOC has long-standing ties with the UN, with the two bodies operating various joint projects at community level to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through sport, but it was under Ban that the IOC was granted UN observer status in 2009.

"As we meet here today, sport is at work for peace and development in countries around the world," Rogge said.

"Collaboration in this area has increased dramatically and involves a wide range of committed partners.

"The relationship between the IOC and the UN goes back many years.

"Our organisations have two very different roles in society, but we share some core values."

Ban Ki-moon took part in the London 2012 Olympic Torch RelayBan Ki-moon took part in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay

The two leaders also marked the start of work on a permanent sports exhibition, which will highlight the role it plays in human development and the promotion of peace, at the UN building during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"The link between sport, peace and development grows stronger by the year," Ban said.

"It can be traced back in history to the original Olympic Truce, which guaranteed safe passage to athletes and other travellers attending the ancient Games.

"It is found in the bidding requirements for modern Olympic host cities, which are asked to provide a durable social and environmental legacy.

"And it is evident throughout the United Nations system, which has embraced sport as a valuable vehicle for reaching our peace and development objectives.

"The International Olympic Committee is a key partner."

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