Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar led the Pakistani delegation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Kigali, Rwanda on June 24-25, 2022. Themed ' Providing a Common Future: Connect, Innovate and Transform', the Summit discussed Commonwealth-related issues including post covid economic recovery, disruptions caused by the pandemic and conflict, the challenge of climate change and sustainable development, the promotion of democratic values and fundamental freedoms and the improvement of trade, among other issues.
As head of the Pakistani delegation, Minister of State Khar represented Pakistan at the CHOGM plenary, Retreat and Intergenerational Dialogue. He also actively participated in the Commonwealth Foreign Ministerial Meeting held on June 23, 2022 in the run-up to the Summit.
The Minister of State held productive bilateral meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Kenya, Tanzania, Singapore, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, Jamaica and Dominica, and the UK Minister for South Asia, the Commonwealth and the UN.
On the sidelines, he interacted with, among others, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid.
At the Intergenerational Dialogue, Pakistan was featured as the Asian Commonwealth member representing the potential of youth, along with Canada, Barbados and Samoa from the Americas-Europe, Caribbean and Pacific, respectively. In a specially recorded video message broadcast on television, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif announced the holding of the 10th Commonwealth Youth Ministerial Meeting in Islamabad in January 2023. The announcement was welcomed by Commonwealth Heads .
The Summit, which was convened after a break of almost four years, was one of the largest face-to-face meetings of Heads of Government since the pandemic. It provided a useful opportunity for Member States to take stock and set the organizational agenda for the next two years.
Gabon and Togo joined the Commonwealth on Saturday, becoming the latest nation without historical ties to Britain to join the English-speaking club headed by Queen Elizabeth II.
The group of 54 nations, mostly former British colonies, accepted Togo and Gabon's application for membership on the last day of their leadership summit in Rwanda.
“We admit Gabon and Togo as new members, and we all welcome them to the Commonwealth family,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said at the closing press conference.
President Uhuru Kenyatta today joined other heads of government at the Commonwealth Leaders' Summit which focused on post-COVID-19 recovery and sustainable development.
The official opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held at the Kigali Convention Center was presided over by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who represented Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the commonwealth
Speaking at the event, Prince Charles emphasized the importance of the Commonwealth family. “…we must never forget the things that do not change: the close and trusting association between the members of the Commonwealth; our common values and shared goals; and, perhaps most importantly, the strong and enduring connections between the peoples of the Commonwealth that make us all stronger,” said Prince Charles.
The opening ceremony was also addressed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said that the developed world had an obligation to help Commonwealth members tackle global challenges, including climate change and security. food, which they have had nothing to do with causing.
Prime Minister Johnson said that during the UK's tenure as acting president, the Commonwealth Finance Access Hub mobilized more than $38 million for the most vulnerable members, but stressed the need to push for more to be done.
On promoting girls' education, the UK Prime Minister reported that the UK's £212 million Girls' Education Challenge initiative, announced at the last CHOGM in London in 2018 , is now operating in 11 Commonwealth countries, ensuring that girls can get at least 12 years of quality education.
“We need to empower them to play their full role in the economy when they leave school, which is why the UK is funding the Commonwealth She Trades programme, which has already helped over 3,500 women-owned businesses become more competitive and generate more than 32 million pounds of sales”, said the prime minister.
The host and incoming President of the Commonwealth, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, paid tribute to Her Majesty The Queen for championing the growth in both numbers and scope of the Commonwealth family during his 70 years of service.
He highlighted the existential threat of climate change to small island and developing states, and unlocking the potential of new technologies to create jobs for young people as some of the issues requiring urgent attention.
“The Commonwealth we need is on the front lines of global challenges, not on the fringes, watching events unfold. Our special strength is focusing on issues that might otherwise be overlooked,” said President Kagame.
For her part, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said the economic damage from Covid, mounting debt and rapidly intensifying climate change pose existential dangers that CHOGM must address.
“This CHOGM is first and foremost an opportunity to find answers to these questions. It will not be easy. The solutions will not simply come up on stage here and be presented to us.
“We must speak and listen to each other, and give everything we have to bring about progress for the 2.5 billion people we represent,” said the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
President Kenyatta subsequently attended executive sessions one and two of the summit where leaders deliberated further on Commonwealth priorities and re-elected Patricia Scotland as Secretary General.
Some 23 million Nigerian children have received the seasonal malaria chemoprevention, aiding reduction in severe malaria in children in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the declaration on Friday in Kigali at the Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
The summit is part of activities at the on-going 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Rwandan capital.
President Buhari was represented by the Minister of Health, Mr Osagie Ehanire, who delivered a speech on his behalf.
“I am pleased to say my country has recorded gains in reducing the burden of malaria and NTDs and averting millions of malaria infections and deaths as can be seen in the 2021 World Malaria Report.
“In spite of Covid-19-induced restrictions, Nigeria distributed more than 17million long-lasting Insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) for vector control.
“The LLIN prevents not only malaria but also NTDs transmitted by mosquito vectors.
“To protect against malaria in our seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Strategy, we scaled up from nine states to 21 beneficiary states in 2021, to reach 23 million children,’’ he said.
The Nigerian leader told the summit that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria delivered on commitments made at the London CHOGM malaria summit in 2018.
He tasked Commonwealth leaders to renew commitment toward eliminating the disease while assuring best efforts by his government to mobilise domestic resources in the fight against NTDs and malaria.
He announced that Nigeria had secured 300 million dollars from the World Bank and from the Islamic Development Bank to cover essential malaria programmes and strengthen Primary Healthcare.
The president added that fatalities caused by malaria in parts of Africa mostly affect children and pregnant women, and urged low-income countries to join forces together to end the challenge.
“Estimates of persons in the WHO-Africa region contracting malaria is still in hundreds of millions while fatalities are still in hundreds of thousands, the greatest toll being on pregnant women and under-five children.
“With regard to NTDs, Africa bears more than half of the global burden estimated at more than one billion in 149 countries.
“It is, therefore, important for low-income countries, most impacted, to join forces to end this double-disease burden.
“We can achieve this by urgently scaling up innovation and deployment of new tools, while advocating for equitable access to prevention and treatment,’’ he said.
The summit, hosted by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, featured commitments totalling more than four billion dollars including funding from governments, international organisations, philanthropists, and private sector support.
Pharmaceutical companies also donated 18 billion tablets for preventing and treating NTDs.
The President of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, will travel to Rwanda for a 3-day official visit on the invitation of the government.
Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Ms Paulina Greer, in a statement on Wednesday, said the 3-day visit would be from Thursday to Saturday.
The visit coincides with the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda.
As part of his Commonwealth engagements, Shahid will participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum 2022, which is held this year on the theme of “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.”
He will also take part in a high-level event entitled “Keeping 1.5 Alive,” co-hosted by the governments of Rwanda and the UK, and the COP26 Presidency.
A proponent of gender equality, President Shahid will also participate in a high-level event on ending violence against women, hosted by the First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame.
While in Kigali, Greer said the president of the General Assembly is expected to meet with President Paul Kagame.
He will also meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Vincent Biruta.
The topics of discussion are expected to include the five priority areas of the Presidency of Hope, namely COVID recovery, sustainable development, prioritising the needs of the planet, human rights and UN revitalisation.
Shahid will engage with young civil society leaders at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
He will also meet with UN Country Team in Rwanda, led by Resident Coordinator Fodé Ndiaye.
Similarly, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has departed New York for Kigali to attend CHOGM.
According to UN Spokesperson, Mr Stephane Dujarric, Mohammed left New York on Tuesday evening to attend the meeting, holding between June 20 and June 26.
The theme for CHOGM 2022 is, “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.”
Dujarric said Mohammed would also be meeting with UN officials and other stakeholders in Rwanda. (