The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Watch: CHOGM 2015 Malta, 2018 UK commended for championing climate change mandates

Thursday, 11 July 2019, 14:21 Last update: about 3 months ago

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela  participated in the 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting taking place at the Commonwealth’s Headquarters in Marlborough House, London, discussing the role of the Commonwealth in contributing to a future which is fairer, more sustainable, secure, and prosperous. 

The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers commended CHOGM 2015Malta and 2018UK for taking the lead on climate change and in addressing the adverse effects which are already being faced by vulnerable small states. In 2015,  leaders in Malta agreed on and issued the Commonwealth leaders’ statement on climate action which called climate change an existential threat to many states. 

In 2018, this theme continued to be spearheaded during CHOGM UK and will now be prioritised during the 2020 CHOGM which will be hosted in Rwanda. Focus is being placed on the blue economy relating to the exploitation and preservation of the marine environment and trade. The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers also mentioned the use of ICT and innovation as a tool to tackle the blue economy. 

During the meeting, the Ministers also examined progress made with the implementation of leaders mandates including boosting trade and investment, climate change through initiatives such as blue charter programme set up to protect oceans from pollution and over-fishing. 

Given that 60% of the Commonwealth’s population are under the age of 30, Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers also reiterated the importance of youth empowerment and gender equality. They spoke about the empowerment of all women and girls in social, economic, and political life to realise the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. 

In his address, Minister Abela noted that Malta'’s top priorities in relation to the Commonwealth are issues relating to maritime, education, small states, climate change. This, together with the commitment to work towards a common future, should continue to be expressed throughout the CHOGM2020 in Rwanda. He added that Malta supports the identified set of priorities  areas agreed for the CHOGM2020 being trade, energy, and the environment, ICT and innovation, youth and governance and rule of law.

Minister Abela also made reference to the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence and the Commonwealth Small States Trade Facility, both of which are hosted in Malta,  becoming more visible and active, organising training and focused research on themes including climate change, natural disaster preparedness and management, ocean governance, and monitoring gender mainstreaming.

The Commonwealth is comprised of 53 countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific, which were formerly part of the British Empire. Rwanda is the Commonwealth’s newest member state  and was selected to host the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in 2020, following CHOGM2018 hosted in the United Kingdom. This year, the Commonwealth is celebrating its 70th year since its foundation.

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