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Five Team PNG athletes appointed as Champions for Sustainable Development Goals

SDG CHAMPIONS: (L-R) Milton Kisapai, Tania Mairi-Mahuru, Chris Amini, Lua Mavara Rikis and Ryan Pini. Standing with them at the back is UN's Roy Trivedy and PNGOC Secretary General, Auvita Rapilla. PHOTO: A. Molen/ PNGOC.

 

The United Nations in Papua New Guinea and the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee has embarked on a new partnership to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the country. To advance the advocacy program, two agencies have appointed five team PNG athletes as champions for the global goals. The announcement was made at the Committee’s sport demonstration event at the Rita Flynn Complex to commemorate the Olympic Day, 23rd June.

Since the goal’s inception last year, the United Nations has launched an SDGs advocacy campaign to raise awareness about the goals and to advocate for their implementation in the country. As the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee promotes local athletes not only as the best in their respective sport fields but also as role models in the society, advocating for the global goals is high on the agenda of the athletes.   

“Globally, the United Nations recognizes that the Olympic principles are based on the United Nations’ principles. The United Nations in Papua New Guinea considers the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee as a valuable partner in promoting sustainable development in the country. We believe in the power of sports as an enabler to engage people in innovative ways. These five superstars are champions in their respective sports as well as through their social outreach to individuals and communities,” commented Roy Trivedy, the UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea.

The athletes, namely Ryan Pini (swimming), Lua Rikis (netball), Tania Mairi Mahuru (shooting), Christopher Amini (cricket), and Milton Kisapai (hockey) will be delivering messages about the global goals through sports events, educational programs by the Olympic Committee, and media channels, to raise awareness and encourage people to stand up for the goals.  In addition to raising awareness on all 17 SDGs. Each champion has chosen a specific goal on which they will specifically focus.

“The Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee is delighted to have our Team PNG athletes take on the role of the SDGs champions. Attainment of the SDGs is the responsibility of everyone in the country including those involved in sport. Sport is an enabler of human development and we recognize the valuable contribution athletes can play towards the development of our nation,” said Auvita Rapilla, the Secretary General of the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee.

Rapilla added, “Being a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Commission for Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport, I am proud to see the global partnership between the International Olympic Committee and the UN has been translated into this new partnership with our athletes promoting the SDGs and complementing the impressive efforts of the UN in Papua New Guinea.”   

One of the SDGs champions, Christopher Amini reflected on his new role by saying “I have always felt that sports can drive positive change in the community and as an SDGs champion I am happy to be at the forefront of that change, as athletes have the power to influence their communities. I am determined to utilize this influence towards improving the situation in the country, and as related to all the SDGs and specifically on the Goal 4 - Quality Education.”

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