The Oceania National Olympic Committees meeting brought to recognition the importance of gender equality in sports.
In the partnership for sustainable development, it highlighted the importance of sports as an important role in the social, cultural and economic life of Pacific Island countries.
The C.E.O. of Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.) Tuala Matthew Vaea elaborated on the relevance of human rights and sports as a platform to opening more doors in life.
“The sustainable development goal speaks about equal rights and speaks of not leaving anybody behind, but is more than that in the Samoan perspective and the Pacific perspective.”
“It is a human right. It is about the people and about the person, so to use that to differentiate male and female that’s when these issues are brought up.”
“From a sporting perspective, sports can help in opening up doors on the field, off the field and look at the areas of health and the people who are delivering health care, the majority are women,” he told Samoa Observer.
Tuala says there is an enormous contribution by women to the life and livelihoods of people who surround them.
“We talked about sporting field example rugby, why are not more women playing rugby or officiating or administrating the game.”
“The I.L.C., the Commonwealth Secretariat, the leader of the world Secretariat is a woman. You look at the majority of the executive board of international Olympic committee, they are women.”
“So the forefront of the world sporting is led by good quality women around the globe and for the Pacific. That is something that we aspire to, it is a right, a human right and everyone has the ability and it should be recognized whether you are a male or female,” he added.
The O.N.O.C. meeting that Samoa is hosting is important in terms of preparing for the Pacific Games 2019, he said.
“Last year our Prime Minister hosted the leaders meeting in Samoa as you well know and he was talking about the priorities of the region. This morning we looked at 98 percent of our region is covered by water and only 2 percent is land.”
Climate Change was also highlighted in the symposium.
“Climate change, some of those issues are brought to the forefront of sports, where can we have a contribution to making sure our waters are protected.”
“This morning we got plastics that is ruining our oceans and fisheries. Some of those issues are examples that the sports are now hearing about and more aware about how we can go greener when we head to the Pacific Games next year.”
“Such as having fresh coconuts instead of using plastic bottles, the fresh coconut brings in good nutrition.”
“The priority issues in the globe and the region are now being shared in partnership levels and sports as a driver and enabler for sustainable development.”
Mr. Vaea is calling out to the media industry for their collaboration.
“There is also a role of the media in helping the O.N.O.C. and S.A.S.N.O.C. to pass on their message. We see media as critical to sending out the positive messages to our communities and for more involvement and encouragement.”