(2 December 2015)
“Outcome of the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta”
The 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) officially closed on 29th November, 2015 at the Radisson Blu Resort in Malta, Golden Sands. The Outcome of the 24th CHOGM 2015 was issued at the end of the Closed Executive Session as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Communiqué.
In a year of exceptional global challenges and opportunities, Heads of Government addressed issues/threats such as climate change, sustainable development, trade and investment, migration, and countering violent extremism and radicalization. It was agreed that such threats must be countered through strong national, regional and international action and cooperation.
Leaders acknowledged that all human rights are equal, indivisible, interdependent, interrelated and universal and urged members to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. They resolved to encourage the development of practical networks that facilitate the sharing of information and building of capacity. They also observed that good governance and respect for the rule of law are vital for stable and prosperous societies and for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and require efficient, effective and accountable public institutions that serve all citizens and provide access to justice for all. In this regard, Leaders noted recent Commonwealth publications of best practice on the appointment, tenure and removal from office of judges, establishment of national human rights institutions, best practice and capacity-building in the Universal Periodic Review process; parliamentary oversight, including of public finance management and accountability and national anti-corruption efforts. The establishment of the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees as a network for strengthening public financial management and accountability was also noted.
In light of the crucial issue of sustainable development, Leaders highlighted the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and recognized that the development of a sustainably managed ‘blue economy’ offers significant opportunities for economic growth and general development for many Commonwealth member states.
In view of the impending 21ST session of the Conference of Parties (COP21), Leaders met in a Special Executive Session to discuss climate action, recognizing the leadership exercised historically by Commonwealth leaders on this pressing global challenge. They agreed on the seriousness and urgency of the threat posed by climate change and the need for an ambitious agreement in Paris. They therefore adopted the Commonwealth Leader’s Statement on Climate Action which they undertook to highlight and advance at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Hon. Semisi Fakahau emphasized during the session Tonga’s strong support in favor of limiting global warming to below 1.5 degrees centigrade. Tonga also called on developed countries to provide technological and financial support to developing countries to help them build capacity and help with national adaptation actions. Hon. Fakahau raised that despite adaptation being a serious challenge, loss and damage should be treated as a separate category from adaptation.
The developed Commonwealth countries reaffirmed their commitment to play their part in mobilizing US$100 billion per annum by 2020 to address the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions, drawing on a wide variety of sources. Leaders welcomed the efforts already in hand by the Commonwealth to strengthen access to existing and new climate finance for small and other climate vulnerable states, including the new initiative of a Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, and encourage the mobilization of resources for the Hub. They also welcomed the Commonwealth Green Finance Facility initiative, which will explore options for mobilizing private finance to help fund sustainable infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth. They applauded the creation of the pioneering global Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network, and the commitment and contributions of this Network and other Commonwealth partners to the realization of our collective aspirations and to sharing responsibility by all for securing climate stability and safety to the benefit of present and future generations.
Leaders reiterated their strong commitment to rules-based, transparent, free and fair multilateral trade and investment as a foundation for the economic development and growth, as reinforced by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As the Youth remains to be the future of the Commonwealth, Leaders recognized the important leadership role of young people and agreed to support youth-led approaches that add value across the Commonwealth and globally, and to promote, support and work in partnership with the Commonwealth Youth Council as well as regional and national youth bodies. Leaders applauded the Youth Development index and the growing regional networks of alliances of young entrepreneurs.
On the topic of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Special emphasis was made on the overarching importance of female education and the need to sensitize the international community to women’s health needs which pose impediments to their socio-economic development. Heads of Government agreed to continue its efforts to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence and encouraged the cooperation with national, regional and global efforts to develop and implement comprehensive and coordinated responses and strategies aimed at eradicating poverty and protecting girls’ and women’s right to education.
The Tonga delegation to CHOGM consisted of Hon Semisi Fakahau as Head of delegation; Va’inga Tone, Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dr Palenitina Langa’oi, Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet and other senior government officials and Mele ‘Amanaki, Secretary General of PSA as well as representatives of the civil society in Tonga.