COLOMBO (News 1st); Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, on behalf of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, attended the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which took place in Kigali, Rwanda from 24 to 25 June, 2022. The CHOGM meeting was preceded by the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting (CFAMM) on 23 June.
The CHOGM meeting, chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, was attended by delegations from the fifty-four Member States of the Commonwealth representing Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales represented Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, at the CHOGM meeting in Kigali. The Leaders congratulated Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee and for her steadfast commitment over seven decades as Head of the Commonwealth.
The theme of the 2022 CHOGM was “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating and Transforming”, highlighting the work of the Commonwealth family in achieving its shared goals of protecting natural resources and increasing trade. Member States participated in high-level discussions under the three thematic areas of “Democracy, Peace and Governance”, “Sustainable and Inclusive Development”, and “Post-COVID-19 Recovery”.
At the CHOGM meeting, the Heads of delegations underscored the importance of connecting, innovating, and transforming in order to facilitate a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, achieve the 2030 Agenda, and to respond to conflicts and crises in ways that increase resilience and progress in the Commonwealth.
Addressing the sessions, Foreign Minister Peris highlighted the importance of robust institutions in recovering from the economic difficulties that the world is currently experiencing. Describing the current shortages of fuel, food and medicine etc., as one of the most difficult situations faced by Sri Lanka since independence, Minister Peiris thanked all the nations that have aided the country at this critical juncture. Minister Peiris stated that apart from economic reforms, Sri Lanka was resolved to undertake the necessary political reforms, particularly to incorporate the voices of youth into the governance and parliamentary process.
The CHOGM meeting admitted the Gabonese Republic and the Togolese Republic to the Commonwealth as new members and reappointed the current Secretary General Patricia Scotland QC to complete her second term. The Leaders adopted 3 documents, namely the Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands, the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation, and the Kigali Declaration on Child Care and Protection Reform.
The sessions were also attended by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who presented their organisations’ perspectives and offered ideas for greater inter-organisational collaboration to tackle matters important to Commonwealth countries.
The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be hosted by Samoa in 2024.
On the sidelines of the CHOGM meeting, Minister Peiris held a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from several Commonwealth nations.