UN Special Adviser in New Zealand and New Caledonia to highlight the importance of sport in their communities6 December 2013
As the patron of the 2nd Pacific Youth and Sport Conference (PYASC), UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke has been among the key note speakers to open the conference. Over 800 delegates from 18 countries from the Pacific attended the conference, where the key topics have been Sport and Health, Sport and Education and Capacity Building and Sport and Social Inclusion.
Within his role as a UN Special Adviser, Mr. Lemke introduced the role of the United Nations in the provision of Sport for Development and Peace to the young sports men and women. The Special Adviser also took this opportunity to introduce the UN Millennium Development Goals along with his five priorities.
"The PYAS conference is a great opportunity for these youth from this beautiful part of the world to come together and learn about Sport for Development and Peace. It is a privilege for me to attend this gathering and be the patron, it means a lot to me to see so many young role models all coming together for sport, and I hope they can share their experiences within their community to provoke positive social change."
Mr. Lemke also had the great opportunity to follow-up on the progress of one the participants from the 2013 Gwangju Youth Leadership Camp. Ms. Daphnny Naliupis from Vanuatu is a representative of Sanma Frangipani Association, and was very keen to share her experiences from the camp with Mr. Lemke and participants at the PYASC.
As part of his mission of the Oceania and Pacific region, the UN Special Adviser arranged meetings with organizations that use sport for development and peace in New Zealand. As an area that suffers heavily from youth suicide and domestic violence, the National Olympic Committee was on hand to provide examples as to how they are tackling such issues. As the first female CEO of the NZ Olympic Committee, Kereyn Smith has activated an outreach programme designed at tackling these issues. Using the title "Olympic Schools", Ms. Smith organizes Olympic athletes to visit schools where pupils are encouraged to achieve personal goals and where they also learn about the Olympic values, such as respect, sportsmanship and peace.
Mr. Lemke was sincerely impressed by this programme and outlined its importance in such a fragile environment.
"Programmes such as the ‘Olympic Schools’ are so important to youth development; young men and women can be encouraged by their national sports men and women, and if they can help achieve a personal goal and become engaged in community sports, then this can bring a more positive horizon to their life."
Ms. Kate Palmer, Director of the International Netball Federation also took the time to meet with Mr. Lemke. Ms. Palmer introduced their programme that uses netball to empower young women around the world, especially in Malawi, India and the Oceania region. A sport that is more commonly played in the Commonwealth, netball is popular with girls and women and can provide a safe and enjoyable environment for its participants. The Netball programme is also an effective learning platform to educate women on the improvement of maternal health and the possible reduction of early pregnancies.
Mr. Lemke was also introduced to the New Zealand Paralympic Committee and the work they do in the area, along with a visit to "Kiwi Kicks", a grassroots soccer project, where young boys and girls come after school to practice and improve their core strengths.