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FIFA kicks Pacific climate change goal

A very important goal has been scored as the Pacific’s biggest diplomatic organisation and football’s governing body have put into action their commitment towards tackling climate change.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and FIFA have jointly launched a 12-month plan to implement the climate change partnership they signed in April.

This means that some of the biggest names in football will raise climate change awareness and existing infrastructure in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions will be adapted to make it more climate proof.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the PIF Secretary General Henry Puna signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to combat climate change during the FIFA Congress in Doha, Qatar, in April.

The MOU focuses on using football diplomacy to educate and raise awareness on climate change and disaster resilience.

It also aims to enhance climate-proofed infrastructure, focus on climate resilient football development and mobilise finance for resilience building in the region, including support for the Pacific Resilience Facility fund.

According to Mr Puna, the implementation plan is a demonstration to the people and communities in the Pacific that both FIFA and PIF are serious about addressing the climate emergency facing the region and building the resilience of vulnerable communities.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and FIFA have jointly launched a 12-month plan to implement the climate change partnership they signed in April. Picture – FIFA

“The Pacific region recognises that 2022 is a defining year for urgent and strong climate action – where pledges and commitments need to be translated into action,” Mr Puna said.

“This is the key message that the Pacific will take to the international community leading up to COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November. COP 27 must deliver on implementation.

“In their meeting in July, Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers supported new ways of elevating regional climate change priorities to the international community, including through sports diplomacy such as the recent MOU on Climate Change with FIFA.”

Mr Infantino said football was not immune to climate change and is affected at all levels, from grassroots and amateur to elite, with the Oceania region facing a particularly high risk of climate and disaster impacts.

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“At FIFA, we also have a duty to wider society: helping to draw attention to climate change. Taking action in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions is one of the best ways we can use football’s power and popularity to have a positive impact,” he said.

Key activities under this MOU include creating a climate change literacy program for schools, and training to support climate change awareness by FIFA legends.

There will also be joint communications and advocacy plans leading up to COP 27 and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

FIFA will also support climate proofing and retrofitting of football infrastructure in the Pacific and convene a regional workshop on resilient football infrastructure development.

Apart from this an audit of regional football infrastructure will be undertaken as well as collaboration with the Pacific Resilience Facility within the framework of the FIFA Climate Strategy.

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