Koror, Palau – A strong representation by Pacific CSOs at the 2018 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting to push for adequate recognition of sport in the Pacific and its increasing contribution toward the region’s economic development, was rewarded, when Ministers, endorsed the establishment of a Joint Pacific Sport Physical Education, and Physical Activity Action Plan for the Region.
This was a highlight of the Outcomes Document of the Joint Dialogue between Economic Ministers, the Private Sector and Pacific CSOs, held as part of the FEMM 2018 in Koror, Palau.
The Ministers also endorsed the establishment of a regional coordination mechanism to implement the Joint Action Plan. This regional mechanism would provide support and technical assistance to Forum Island countries; develop integrated systems for data collection and analyses; support policy development and implementation through a regional partnership with University of the South Pacific (USP), Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC), and the governments of Fiji and Samoa.
The Forum Economic Ministers’ endorsed the preliminary findings of a CSOs partnered research on “the contribution of sports to the SDGs Roadmap and return on investment for sport in Pacific island countries at the meeting, and also welcomed an expansion of regional efforts for data collection and statistical analyses to include physical education and sport for evidence-based policy making. Sport as a key economic driver, was first tabled in 2017 at the Joint Dialogue between Economic Ministers, Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations in the margins of the 2017 FEMM in Suva, Fiji. Economic Ministers at the time had supported the call by CSOs for investment in a regional policy framework on sport and development.
Other positive outcomes for the CSOs at the conclusion of the Dialogue with the Forum Economic Ministers, included support towards greater investment for national youth councils to implement the Pacific Youth Development Framework as a regional enabler needed for vibrant economies and building resilience of youth. In endorsing partnerships with CSOs to access global climate finance, Economic Ministers’ recognized the need to strengthen implementation and monitoring at the community level. In response to issues relating to climate-induced migration and displacement, Economic Ministers’ called for enhanced understanding of economic and non-economic losses arising from loss and damage applicable to the Pacific context, and in close collaboration with CSOs and their communities.
Forum Economic Ministers also endorsed the call for a regional financial inclusion framework in PIF member countries with targeted support for vulnerable groups, including women, youth, elderly, and persons with disabilities. Finally, Ministers supported the implementation of the Pacific Regional Framework on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and that allocation of requisite resources to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the national level was critical.
The participation of civil society organization representatives at the joint dialogue with Forum Economic Ministers was supported by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Non State Actor (NSA) Programme, funded by the European Union, under the 10th European Development Fund.