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Game changers: Oceania meet on actions to reform sports, physical education

Sport has tremendous potential to serve as a unifying force across social or national boundaries and to greatly benefit the health and well-being of students through physical education. Too often, however, this potential is squandered due to not being able to bring together all the pieces of the puzzle that make sports an ideal tool to support sustainable development.




The Berlin Declaration, issued following the Fifth World Conference of Sports Ministers (MINEPS V) in 2013, served as a call to action to do exactly this.

A workshop late last month discussed how countries in the Oceania region are following up on MINEPS V and plans to carry that momentum forward.

The "Oceania Consultation on MINEPS V and the Declaration of Berlin" was hosted by UNESCO and the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) in Suva, Fiji on 30 April, 2015 as part of ONOC’s annual general meeting. Ministers of Sport from Fiji, Palau and Samoa joined the workshop alongside more than 60 people drawn from National Olympic Committees (NOCs), sporting federations, UN agencies and community organisations promoting sport and sustainable development.

Fiji Minister for Sports, the Hon Laisenia Tuitubou and Dr Robin Mitchell, President of the ONOC, opened the workshop and outlined its objective of reviewing the Declaration of Berlin in the Pacific context.


The Declaration of Berlin built on several already existing initiatives at the local, regional and global levels. Four of these were discussed at the workshop.

ONOC’s Oceania Sports Education Programme (OSEP) builds skills among sporting bodies and provides a process to review, devise and support the implementation of national sports education plans.

Another initiative that supports the aims of the Berlin Declaration is the IOC’s Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP), which provides toolkits that can be used as learning materials for youth.

Also discussed was the Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC) Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP), a programme that seeks to harness the power of sport to further development outcomes such as improved leadership skills, health promotion, and social cohesion. UNESCO’s Quality Physical Education (QPE) programme was also highlighted. Newly launched, it offers a toolkit for policy-makers to build inclusive, high quality and coherent frameworks for their physical education programmes.




The workshop came up with two recommendations: one calling for the development of a model for a sports policy in the Pacific and another that focused on specific initiatives to be taken or built upon to support and strengthen the Declaration of Berlin.

Several stages were outlined by the group for the development of a comprehensive sports policy in the Pacific, including: a reaffirmation of the Declaration of Berlin by the Pacific Sports Ministers Meeting; deeper research into sports’ contributions to sustainable develop in the Pacific; development of a model Pacific Sports Policy that could then be adopted by countries; and capacity building activities at the school, government and sports organization levels.

It was agreed that this process would be led by a working group under ONOC, and the presentation of a proposal to the Pacific Sports Ministers meeting to be held at the Pacific games in July 2015.

The second initiative sought to build on some of the existing educational initiatives in the region and also share other successes.

The experts found that programs already developed by OSEP could be linked to the efforts of governments and NOCs as partners in educational initiatives. They likewise called for improved connectivity between the health and education sectors through an evidence-based “whole of society” approach.

The workshop also acknowledged the importance of physical education teachers and supporting their development through OSEP training modules, and recommended that the ASC’s models be promoted as valuable tools in tackling issues of access, education and integrity in sports.