By creating ties with other nations and contributing to Brazil's image projection, sport is an instrument of foreign policy. The Itamaraty (Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) uses sports cooperation as a tool to strengthen diplomatic partnerships and to contribute to attracting and holding major sporting events in Brazil. Established in 2008, the General Coordination for Cooperation and Interchange on Sports is the unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of those themes.
Brazil is going through a "Decade of Sport," having hosted the World Military Games (2011) and the Confederations Cup (2013) and preparing to host the World Cup (2014), the World Games of Indigenous Peoples (2015), the Olympic and Paralympic Games (2016) and the World University Games (2019).
The fact that all these major sporting events will be held in Brazil demonstrates the growing importance of the country to the international community. It is no coincidence that, in recent years, the BRICS countries have hosted or been chosen to host major sporting events: Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing (2008), World Cup in South Africa (2010), Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (2010), Winter Olympic and Paralympics Games in Sochi (2014), and the World Cup in Russia (2018).
Major sporting events represent opportunities for development and social inclusion, and contribute to combatting racial, ethnic and gender discrimination. They are also tools for promoting peace and cooperation – which uses and reinforces Brazil's soft power. Brazil has signed Memoranda of Understanding on sports cooperation with over 70 countries – and has received an increasing demand for this type of agreement.
The subject is ever more present in the multilateral framework – and, given the visibility Brazil gained by hosting major world sporting events, its diplomatic action in those forums has intensified.
Within the United Nations framework, Brazil has co-sponsored the General Assembly's resolutions in support for the "Olympic Truce" (A/RES/66/5 and A/RES/68/9) and the resolution that created the "International Day of Sport for Development and Peace" (A/RES/67/77). In 2010, Brazil sponsored the resolution A/RES/65/4 on "Sport for the Promotion of Education, Health, Development and Peace."
On the Human Rights Council, the Brazilian government worked for the approval of resolutions in support for the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights through sport and the Olympic ideal" (Resolutions 24/1 and 18 /23), holding High-Level Panels on "Racism and Sports" (October 2013) and on "Promoting Human rights through Sport and the Olympic Ideal" (February 2012 and 2013).
At the opening of the XIV Paralympic Games in London, the governments of Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea issued a joint communiqué which committed the Games to promoting human rights.