Democratic governance and the empowerment of women and youth will form part of the range of issues when Commonwealth Heads meet in Rwanda later this year to agree on new collaborative programmes.
This information was presented by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland during her Commonwealth Day message on Monday.
“When Commonwealth Heads of Government meet in Rwanda later this year, we can expect them to agree on new collaborative programmes on a range of issues, most importantly, there will be fresh commitment to practical action on the environment and living lands,” she said.
According to her, this will be an important staging post on the way towards delivering more
ambitious national commitments when COP 26 is hosted by the United Kingdom (UK) in November.
“These will carry forward the impressive record of Commonwealth engagement on climate and regenerative development,” Scotland stated.
She went on to say that the pioneering Langkawi Declaration on the Environment, made as long ago as 1989 when Commonwealth leaders met in Malaysia, “recognised that any delay in addressing the impending climate crisis increased the existential threats to our common home: planet Earth.”
“We have moved a long way since then, and much has happened which is positive,” Scotland said. “Yet we know that time is running out, and the need to move from declaration to implementation becomes more urgent with every year that passes.”
She added, “We may be the first generation to have truly experienced the tragic consequences of this climate crisis, yet we are perhaps the last with the opportunity to take action to reverse it.”
She said further that the Commonwealth’s great strength as a family of nations, and of people growing together organically, “is our ability to evolve and adjust to changing circumstances – whether in the field of human rights, democracy or trade.”
“We see such adaptation in the natural world, and it is just as necessary in the technological world, and for fruitful cooperation among nations and in local communities,” Scotland stated.
Scotland mentioned that an impressive example of how the Commonwealth member countries
come together to pool knowledge and resources which deliver transformation change through innovation is the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
“It provides a dynamic framework within which our member countries commit to working together on ocean health and to use marine resources in sustainable ways,” she noted.
Meantime, she said friendship, kinship and affinity among the people of the Commonwealth member countries make it easier to coordinate and deliver such positive change swiftly in ways that help to ensure no one is left behind.
“Respect and understanding based on goodwill raise awareness in the Commonwealth of the particular needs of vulnerable, remote and marginalised communities, wherever they are and whatever their needs,” she noted. “Our conviction is that with common purpose and by learning from one another, all can give and all can gain.”
This approach she said leads to innovation that transforms lives and livelihoods so that there is inclusive progress and greater prosperity in which all can share.
She pointed out further that it inspires people of the Commonwealth to encourage themselves and others to more profound depths of co-operation and greater heights of achievement.