The Ball at COP28 – Intensification of Collaboration for Climate Action

The Ball has led over a hundret workshops in about FairPlay, Climate Action and Gender Equality in 21 countries. Over 13,000 signatures and pledges for Sustainability and Gender Equality. In December 2023, The Ball visited its 22nd and final country, the United Arab Emirates, to take part in the28th United Nations Climate Conference. The Ball had previously visited COP26 and COP27, advocating for climate action ahead of the 2023 The Ball Journey. To bring the The Ball 2023 to an end, The Ball travelled to Dubai to attend COP28.

Apart from attending events, presenting The Ball at the Extreme Hangout, and collecting signatures and pledges from COP attendees, The Ball also (re-)connected with old and new partners from The Ball Journey. With those who we worked with previously, we intend on intesifying our collaboration (Kiribati, Philippines, Turkiye), while we’re also exploring the possibilities for new projects (e.g. in Nigeria). As such, we met, for example, Tekana and Baniti from Kiribati, JR Coro from the Philippines, Kübra and Nas from Turkiye and Lucky from Nigeria.

The Ball X Kiribati

In June 2023, The Ball visited Kiribati, a group of atolls in the Pacific which is existentially threatened by climate change and sea level rise. Together with the Kiribati Island Football Federation, the Spirit of Football team conducted a number of FairPlay workshops to help raise awareness and understanding of climate change and gender equality and promote football and the women’s game.

Takena Redfern and her colleague Matea Nauto from Kiribati

When we met Takena at COp28 in Dubai, she told us why The Ball’s visit in Kiribati was so important.

Hello, my name is Takena Redfern and I’m from Kiribati. I’m currently working with the Climate Change department but I’m also part of the board for the Kiribati Island Football Federation, and I’m here in Dubai now attending COP 28 and I’m following the loss and damage and gender thematic areas.

So I would say that the arrival of The Ball in Kiribati has promoted and give more the message to our high level and our young girls, the importance of sports, how they can use sport in their climate action and also empowering our young girls and women into this football game.

Baniti Semilota

Baniti took part in our focal group discussion with the German Envoy to the Pacific Islands, Beate Grzeski, on June 28 (see blog post here). Baniti is the of Founder of Tungaru Youth Action, the President of the Kiribati National Youth Council, a Pacific Australia Youth Association Ambassador, part of Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and a COP28 International Youth Climate Delegate. As you can see, Baniti is more than active in taking climate action and bringing Pacifica voices to climate disucussions. Meeting Baniti again at COP28 was a full circle moment, and she shared with us the power of stories and The Ball.

Mauri from Dubai COP 28, it is so good to finally see The Ball again. I would say this ball it it holds a lot of stories, a lot of resilience since it’s been to Kiribati, and it has seen how climate change has affected our people and our villages, and it also holds a lot of stories. And for it to be here and to finally see it again, a COP 28 where we’re all fighting together for the course of climate justice, it is so good. And I hope that the ball will be able to bring the stories of our people back to and from Kiribati, so that we’ll be able to be heard by those that have not yet heard our voices.
Stay tuned for more projects with Kiribati!

The Ball X the Philippines

JR Coro from the Philippines

In April, The Ball visited the Philippines and conducted various football and climate action workshops. Our Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples, Valeree Nolasco, led The Ball through the Island State. At Cop28, Valeree conntected us to JR Coro (Alfredo M. Coro II), the Mayor of the Municipality of Del Carmen in Surigao del Norte in the Philippines. Spirit of Football is planning to conduct climate football camps with local football clubs in the Philippines, and JR Coro and his municipality are eager to collaborate.

Together with Spirit of Football, we the people in Siargao Islands in the Philippines commit to sustain the actions we have started with our mangrove forest, with the seagrass, with our youth and with our people. Together, we will make this world a better place.

We’re looking forward to climate camps in the Philippines!

The Ball X Turkiye

Naz (left) and Kübra (right) from Turkiye

In late summer of 2022, The Ball visited Turkiye and conducted a Training of Trainers with Yuvam Dünya. Yuvam Dünya are an NGO active in raising climate change awareness, and together we explored how football and sport can be used to promote climate action in Turkiye. Kübra and her colleagues are eager to intensify our collaboration:

Hello everyone, this is Kübra from Yuvam Dünya. I work as a project and Communications Coordinator. So today we’re at COP 28 in Dubai and I met the ball last year in Istanbul. The football and climate education workshop was actually really helpful for me to understand how sports contribute to the communication of climate change. So we will be organising more workshops in Turkey and also other parts of the region.

Kübra’s friend Naz is producing Esmiyor, a podcast that talks about climate change, which they also produced and broadcasted from the Turkiye Pavillion in COP28.

Tek top, tek dünya. This is Nas from Esmiyor, Turkey. Esmiyor is a climate change communications and a consultancy firm. With this ball, I pledged to start an initiative for biodiversity education.

We’re looking forward to future collaborations!

The Ball X Nigeria

Lucky and Pius from Nigeria

Lucky Abeng works with the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network CYCN and the climate initiative Ecostewards in Nigeria. Pius Oko is from Green Faith Nigeria. Both want to promote SDG (the UN Sustainable Develpment Goals) education in Nigeria and are eager to connect football tournaments and SDG workshops in collaboration with Spirit of Football.

My name is Lucky Abeng, I come from Nigeria and I represent young people for 56 Commonwealth country. Today on behalf of Nigerian youth I pledge that we will increase and sustain advocacy to achieve the sustainable development goals. One Ball, One World.


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