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Outstanding South Pacific Games volunteers recognized

05 November 2007

Apia, Samoa: Twenty-four volunteers have been commended for their outstanding commitment to their voluntary roles during the recent XIII South Pacific Games in Apia.  The Organizing Committee of the Games has granted special awards to 24 of the 4,000 volunteers who helped stage the South Pacific’s largest ever sporting event. 

Held every four years, the South Pacific Games this year brought together 5,000 athletes and officials from 22 nations across the Pacific region to compete in 33 sports. Volunteers were an important part of the efficient planning and administration of the games. 

The UN Country Team in Samoa, together with Fiji-based UN organisations including UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP Pacific Centre, UNAIDS and UN Volunteers worked with several Samoan Government Ministries, NGOs, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) to help promote socially and environmentally responsible games and raise awareness of the MDGs.  One of the key messages promoted during the games was the importance of volunteerism for development.

“The Games were a huge logistical undertaking for the small island nation of Samoa, and much of the success of the games has been attributed to the hard work and efforts of the volunteers”, said Dr. Willy Morrell, Sports for the MDGs Coordinator for UN Volunteers.  Dr. Morrell was one of several people involved in helping to organize the volunteer awards, which were presented on UN Day during the UN country team celebration in Samoa. 

UN Day was commemorated with a Sports Day that included UN staff, families and friends at school grounds in Apia.  Picking up the theme of the recently-completed South Pacific Games, the attendees engaged in a range of sporting activities including volleyball, soccer, rugby and sack races. Children were engaged through a banner-painting competition on MDG themes. The Sports Day was jointly organized by representatives of the seven locally-based UN agencies to further emphasize the important role of sports in development.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)