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Oceania Commits to Strengthening Regional Coordination Ahead of Olympic Games Brisbane 2032


Oceania Commits to Strengthening Regional Coordination Ahead of Olympic Games Brisbane 2032
In a significant move towards promoting sustainable development in Oceania, regional leaders, development organizations and the Olympic and sports movement have joined hands to reinforce the use of sport as a tool for sustainable development. This collaborative effort was announced during the Sport and Sustainable Development Strategic Partners Forum held at the ONOC General Assembly in Brisbane, where stakeholders from diverse backgrounds came together to recognize the potential of sport in contributing to sustainable development in the region.
The Forum saw the participation of multilateral development financing institutions, bilateral partners and donors, UN entities, Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies, and regional inter-governmental organisations, along with leaders of the Olympic and sports movement in the region. Through this partnership, the participants acknowledged the need to increase investment, strengthen coordination and enhance policy frameworks to maximize the impact of sport in the lead-up to and beyond the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032.
Their commitment reflects the IOC's Olympism365 strategy, which emphasizes the role of sport as a crucial enabler for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By aligning their efforts with this strategy, these stakeholders have taken an important step towards creating a sustainable future for the Oceania region.
With this collective effort, it is expected that sport will emerge as a powerful tool in promoting sustainable development in Oceania, creating new opportunities for development, and enhancing the overall quality of life for the people in the region.
“The Olympic and Paralympic Games Brisbane 2032 represent an exciting opportunity for Oceania,” said Auvita Rapilla, IOC Member and Chair of the IOC’s Olympism365 Commission.
“It is well recognised that these ‘Home Games’ have the potential to spur improved performances of our athletes and teams. Nevertheless, they can also be a catalyst to enhance the positive impact that sport and the Olympic Movement can have in communities across our diverse region, contributing to the improved health and well-being of our people across the Blue Continent.
“Realising the potential of sport to make a positive impact has arguably never been more important. Considering the ever-intensifying environmental, health and economic challenges facing our countries, strengthening the use of sport as an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals is imperative.”
Key outcomes
The Sport and Sustainable Development Strategic Partners Forum held at the ONOC General Assembly in Brisbane was a resounding success, with the formation of consortia to harness the power of sport to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region. The forum emphasized safe, inclusive, and sustainable approaches, with a particular focus on empowering young people, athletes, and women and girls as agents of change.
This multi-system approach has already yielded promising results, with several UN and regional organizations committing to work towards strengthening sport's role in sustainable development. The World Health Organization (WHO) will explore capacity building on promoting sport and physical activity to deliver public health outcomes. Collaboration with UN Habitat is being developed to promote sport and fitness-friendly cities as part of the SDG Cities initiative. Discussions are underway with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on how to strengthen sport and youth crime prevention. UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) will explore opportunities to strengthen climate adaption, resilience, advocacy, and education. Additionally, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are working together to enhance action on sport, climate action, environmental sustainability, and conservation through sport, a vital subject for the region.
The IOC will also be joining ONOC in an Oceania-led and seeded sport, equality and inclusion network that also includes UN Women and the Australian Government’s sport for development programme “Team Up”. This collaboration will intensify efforts to advance gender equality and inclusion in and through sport in the region.
This united effort marks a significant milestone in promoting sustainable development in Oceania through sport, and it is expected that this approach will yield fruitful results, creating a brighter future for the people in the region.
The efforts to promote sustainable development in Oceania through sport will also make significant contributions to the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, which outlines Oceania's collective approach to achieving long-term goals and securing the region's future against current and future challenges. This includes supporting the delivery of the Pacific Sport, Physical Activity, and Physical Education (SPAPE) Action Plan 2019-2030. The Pacific Regional Sports Taskforce (PRST) will coordinate these efforts with the support of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), including the provision of technical and financial assistance to facilitate joined-up approaches and maximize impact.
Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, stressed the importance of recognizing the significant links between sport and sustainable development to achieve the region's long-term vision. By leveraging the power of sport and working collaboratively towards sustainable development goals, the region can secure a prosperous and resilient future for generations to come.
“I am really pleased to note [the Forum’s] integration of the Pacific 2050 strategic direction, set by our leaders, into this work,” he said. “It is a key part of how Pacific leaders are setting our development agenda right now, and we know the impact level, where we meet our people where they are, must involve all things sport.
“The Olympic Movement, represented for us through the Oceania National Olympic Committees, is a key Forum civil society partner in that regard. The impact of sport on healthy communities and nations has been universally accepted for many years now. But we are at a tipping point, if you will, especially with the clock ticking to 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals.”
During the Forum, Henry Puna addressed attendees, emphasizing the significant impacts and benefits that result from effective regional coordination of sport, physical activity, and physical education at all levels of development. He recognized the strategic engagement in policy, advocacy, and research that has helped position sport as a regional policy priority, and acknowledged the attendees' presence as recognition of this progress. Through continued collaboration and coordination, the region can build on this foundation to drive progress towards sustainable development and promote the benefits of sport for all.
“These connections help to ensure we are working in harmony and leveraging a significant legacy across the Pacific and Oceania for sport as an enabler of sustainable development.”