Sport is an important part of regional life: PM O’Neill

By Matai Akauola, ONOC Regional Media Development Specialist in PNG

PORT MORESBY, 08 SEPTEMBER 2015 (ONOC) ----Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Petr O’Neill says that sport will be discussed at the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders (PIF) meeting which officially starts in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea tomorrow.

Speaking exclusively to Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) Communications, the incoming chair of the Forum said he will brief the leaders on the success of the 15th Pacific Games held in Port Moresby in July this year.

“Really it was a tremendous success. I think first of its kind in the region and the experiences we had from that particularly we can replicate throughout the region especially for smaller countries that are going to host the games in future.

“It does not have to be this grand and we have to learn from the experiences of about costs and things and technical assistance that we can be able to provide.

“Sport is an important part of the regional life you know for many of our citizens so we need to continue to develop it and allow our people in many cases to live out of it as they do in rugby league and many other sports,” said PM O’Neill.

PM O’Neill’s sentiments were shared by outgoing chair and President of Palau Tommy Remengesau.

“Yes will talk about sports and the outcomes of the Sports Ministers meeting held here in PNG during the games,” Remengesau said after the meeting of Small Island States.

The PIF Secretariat have put forward five priority areas for discussions at this meeting in Port Moresby and sport is not one of them.

The five are Climate Change, Fisheries, West Papua, Cervical Cancer and ICT.

PM O’Neill says sport is definitely on the cards for discussion by the leaders.

“We are going to discuss some of those issues at the meeting (referring to resolutions from 4th Sports Ministers’ meeting) and I’m hoping this particular forum we’ll have a bit more intense working meeting for the leaders because yes we get the recommendations from the officials but we want to understand what’s been proposed to us and I think you’ll get a bit more outcomes out of that.”

PNG’s Minister for Sports Justin Tkatchenko in his speech to a ONOC/ Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee sports media briefing articulated the outcomes of the the 4th Sports Ministers meeting held at Holiday Inn in July attended by 11 Sports Ministers.

“It was agreed that Pacific Island Nations would be guided by the Berlin Declaration on Sport for All when looking at the future of sport in the region and that ONOC would be the lead agency for the implementation of the Declaration in the Pacific.

“Ministers re-dedicated themselves and their governments to promote Pacific Values in Sport – commitment, discipline, integrity, fair play, respect of cultural and ethnic differences, gender equality, fair play, and to fight against doping.

“Ministers agreed to lift the profile of sports in their countries - to provide funding and resources to encourage the youth of the Pacific into sports participation and ultimately into the Pacific Games so that they may be exposed to these Pacific Values in Sport.

“Ministers agreed to use Sport and the promotion of physical activity including in schools as a positive vehicle, particularly amongst the Youth, to combat non-communicable diseases, bullying and other social problems prevalent in Pacific communities today.

“Ministers agreed to respect the autonomy and independence of sport, including national sporting organizations, but urged all sports leaders and organisations to strengthen the fight against doping and to promote and practice good governance.”

Tkatchenko, in his capacity as Minister for Events apart from Sports and Pacific Games is the Minister responsible for hosting the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in Port Moresby this week.....PACNEWS


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