SDG CHAMPIONS: UNDP’s Assistant Resident Representative, Julie Bukikun (left), Amini, Mahuru, Rikis and Boungainville Rugby Founder, Peter Tsiamalili. PHOTO: UNDP Port Moresby.
Three elite Papua New Guinea athletes, who were recently appointed as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Champions, will attend the Bougainville Community Rugby Festival this week to raise awareness of the global goals.
PNG Netball team captain, Lua Rikis, Shooter, Tania Mairi Mahuru and former PNG Cricket team captain, Christopher Amini representing the PNG Olympic Committee will join 10 rugby captains from Bougainville rugby union clubs who will also act as ambassadors for the Festival from 27 – 31 July, 2017.
The captains were appointed as ambassadors for SDGs by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bougainville Rugby Union and the Autonomous Bougainville Government last week.
All the athletes will join forces to promote the Bougainville Community Rugby Festival, which attracts hundreds of people from the region, as a platform to raise awareness of Peace and the SDGs - a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all people by 2030.
UNDP’s Assistant Resident Representative, Julie Bukikun said UNDP is proudly supporting the athletes to travel. “To get some of the nation’s elite athletes together to engage and inform people in Bougainville about the global goals is a very exciting prospect. This initiative will help establish a powerful platform to show solidarity and share reconciliation messages to help develop a culture of peace and dialogue for sustainable development,” she said.
SDG Champion and former PNG Cricket team captain, Chris Amini said: “This is the first official event the SDG Champions will attend on behalf of the UN and PNG Olympic Committee – and we couldn’t be more pleased. Using sport to promote the SDGs is such a great way to have the message of sustainable development communicated in PNG.”
SDG Champion and Shooter, Tania Mairi Mahuru said: “My fellow Sustainable Development Goals Champions and I are looking forward to the opportunity to have a conversation on the global goals with the Bougainville Community. We’re equally pleased to have local athletes getting behind the important messages promoted by the tournament and helping to raise awareness on the SDGs. Just like anywhere in PNG, the work towards the achievement of the SDGs will positively benefit the development of Bougainville and its people.”
Bougainville Rugby Union Founder and Executive Director of the PNG Sports Foundation, Peter Tsiamalili said: “Through this initiative, we must promote our joint partnership and enhancement of the Bougainville Rugby Union Regional Sevens Circuit. Driving the SDGs and supporting lasting peace on Bougainville is a priority.”
Since the SDG’s inception last year, the UN and UNDP has launched a SDGs advocacy campaign to raise awareness about the goals and to advocate for their implementation in the country.
The SDGs outline 17 Goals with 169 targets to be achieved in the next 15 years and build on the Millennium Development Goals that ended in 2015. PNG is one of 192 Member States of the United Nations that adopted the SDGs in 2015.