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Perspectives of Athletes and Administrators on S.D.Gs

Discover the role of S.D.G champion advocates in programmes and policy.
Sport by nature is about participation, involvement, engaging people and the community at large. The global issues that the SDGs set out to address are real problems and issues that affect our communities, and also affect sport. Take for example, climate change affects the environment, and we need a clean environment to practice sport. Sport has been recognised as an important enabler of sustainable development and therefore sport has role to play and serve as a vehicle to actively contribute to development. A sport is not just about elite athletes. Sport is more than just elite athletes, it is far reaching. Sport is to youth playing soccer in the settlement or playing volleyball in the village at the grassroots level.
It is the school kids learning to swim or play basketball in school right through to national athletes representing their country on the international stage. The fact that sport brings the community together, sport events and activities provide a powerful platform to disseminate information and messages and raising awareness on issues such as gender, gender equality, health and well being and environmental issues. We must never underestimate the power of inspiration, when people are inspired, they’re motivated. And successful athletes are uniquely positioned to do exactly that to inspire motivate, especially our young people. We need to upskill our athletes, especially in media and public speaking, learn about the SDGs and use them to educate and raise awareness.
The young kids love their sporting idols and they look up to them as role models and they will listen to the Ryan Pini, Dika Toua and Toea Wisil. Athletes are part and parcel of the global community and global issues that the SDGs aim to address are issues that impact on our athletes in in some form or another. As role models and responsible citizens, they play an important role to show genuine care and responsibility not just for themselves but also for their families and communities. At the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee, one of our key result areas of our strategic plan is to provide opportunities for athletes to inspire.
I’m proud to say that we are one of very few National Olympic Committee’s that has partnered with the UN. In 2017, we identified 5 team PNG athletes to become SDG champions. Based on their own experience, the athletes identified a specific SDG to champion, after training from the UN to increase their knowledge on the SDGs and their capacity to effectively communicate information and raise awareness about the SDGs. We also have the 10 PNG heroes programme, which is our Athlete Ambassador Programme. Heroes reflects our core values of honesty, excellence, respect and openness. We see our team PNG athletes as role models, having the potential to influence positive change in society and represent the positive values associated with sport.
These athletes also learn about the SDGs and and participate in the awareness programmes and delivered in schools and communities.

In the video, Auvita Rapilla, Secretary-General of the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, explains that sport is not just about elite athletes.

In fact, the PNGOC is using athletes to champion the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a partnership with the United Nations (UN) in Papua New Guinea.

Rapilla emphasises the importance of involving athletes in the promotion of the SDGs and using sport to provide a space for dialogue around the SDGs in the wider community.

SDG champion advocates appointed by PNGOC sitting holding SDG posters

Team PNG SDG Champions – pictured left to right above, Milton Kisapai (hockey), Tania Mairi Mahuru (shooting), Chris Amini (cricket), Lua Rikis (netball) and Ryan Pini (swimming)

Hear some of the athlete administrators from PNG talk about how they are using their role as an athlete and role model to effectively communicate about the SDGs, featuring:

  • Karo Lelai, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Board Member, Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) Athletes Commission Chairperson
  • Milton Kisapai, UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Youth and Sport Task Force Member, Team PNG Sustainable Development Goals Champion, and former Papua New Guinea Hockey captain
  • Chris Amini, Team PNG Sustainable Development Goals Champion and former PNG Cricket captain
  • Lua Rikis, PNG Athletes Commission, Team PNG Sustainable Development Goals Champion and former PNG Netball captain

Listen to their audios in the links below:

As an athlete, how did you learn about the SDGs? – Chris Amini and Milton Kisapai

Why should sport care about the SDGs? – Karo Lelai and Milton Kisapai

How can sport provide a dialogue around the SDGs? – Lua Rikis and Milton Kisapai

How can athletes help achieve the SDGs and what role can they play – Lua Rikis and Milton Kisapai

Explain how the PNGOC is using athletes to communicate and advocate for the SDGs – Chris Amini and Milton Kisapai

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Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

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