NADI,30 MARCH 2017 (INSIDE THE GAMES)— Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) executive director Dennis Miller believes Olympic Solidarity funding is crucial to helping to strengthen National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the region.
Pacific NOCs are taking part in a two-day Olympic Solidarity Forum in Nadi, which draws to a close Wednesday.
They have been encouraged to make use of the funding available to them during the 2017 to 2020 quadrennial cycle, with nearly US$22 million (£17.6 million/€20.3 million) set aside by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who run the Olympic Solidarity programme.
Around US$500,000 (£401,000/€462,000) of the near $6 million (£4.8 million/€5.5 million) a year funding is put towards ONOC’s sport education programme, while the Women and Sport, Athletes’, and Medical Commissions are also supported.
Funding is also given to the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organisation, but Miller said the priority is to strengthen the NOCs.
“Most of our objective is to strengthen NOCs and over the last 10 or 12 years we have nearly funded everyone to have a proper headquarters,” he told insidethegames.
“There are still a couple of NOCs we are still working with, but we hope to have them all done by the end of this quadrennial.
“I think some NOCs have been quite successful in combining coaching programmes with athletes’ programmes, where they take a long-term view of things.
“Fiji rugby did not happen overnight.
“Some of the NOCs take full advantage of what is on offer through the world programmes, it is not about developing elite athletes but instead spreading the values of Olympism.”
Around $100,000 (£80,000/€92,000) is given directly to NOCs each year, and they are encouraged to use funding to support world programmes aimed at benefiting athletes, coaches, NOC management or the promotion of Olympic values.
Miller explained that while solidarity funding is often used by ONOC’s larger NOCs, Australia and New Zealand, to help support sports in countries which lack resources, it is used in a wide variety of others ways in the island nations.
The ONOC executive director said NOCs often take on a far greater role in society in these countries, tackling issues ranging from the environment through to health.
“Part of our Voices of the Athletes’ programme, which we run during major Games, there is an environmental aspect of that,” he said.
“No matter what people say, there is a global warming issue in this part of the world.
“I grew up here and have been to Kiribati and Vanuatu over the last 20 years and things are not as good as they used to be.
“There’s also a lot of litter problems and developing world issues.
“Papua New Guinea won an IOC environmental award for their clean-up programmes, the NOCs often take over a far bigger role outside of sport in the smaller countries.
“They do things in social areas such as teaching about non communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, which is a big problem in this part of the world.”….PACNEWS[/restrict]