Key events and meetings

High-level Commonwealth delegation vist Fiji

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba led a four-member team from the Commonwealth Secretariat on a three-day visit to Fiji from 7 to 9 March. The visit formed part of the Commonwealth’s ongoing engagement with Fiji. The team met senior government officials, non-government interlocutors and representatives of the international community.

African judges meet to discuss violence against women

Judges and magistrates from 14 Commonwealth African countries met in Gaborone, Botswana, on 26 and 27 March to discuss strategies to strengthen judicial activism in cases of violence against women. The meeting formed part of the work mandated by the Commonwealth Plan of Action (PoA) for Gender Equality 2005-2015. Participating judges were drawn from Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Countries commit to developing women’s participation in politics

The Commonwealth Africa Regional Colloquium: Women Leaders as Agents of Change met from 27 to 29 March in Accra, Ghana. The meeting, which discussed female representation in decision-making, concluded with participants committing themselves to supporting women’s participation and leadership in politics. It was jointly organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Gender Section and the government of Ghana, and was the second in a series of pan-Commonwealth colloquia on women in leadership – the first took place in June 2011 in Trinidad and Tobago and a third is scheduled for the Pacific region later this year.

CABOS: promoting development and peace through sport

The Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport believes that sport should be regarded as an essential part of development, rather than a standalone intervention. The advisory body said that three principles need to be more widely recognised and respected to strengthen Sport for Development and Peace: sport should be embedded in development; local involvement is critical; and mechanisms are needed to protect the human rights of participants.

The 14-member body met at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in Marlborough House, London, on 3-4 April to prepare recommendations ahead of the sixth Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting to be held in London on 25 July.

Advancing the Commonwealth’s reform and renewal agenda

Senior officials from Commonwealth countries met from 12 to 13 April to examine ways to strengthen the association. The meeting focused on the recommendations put together by the Eminent Persons Group. Commonwealth leaders had asked for these suggestions to be examined further, and for it to be determined if and how they could be implemented.

The other key focus of the London meeting was to discuss a draft Commonwealth Charter. The aim of the charter would be to give better definition to the Commonwealth, as well as consolidate previous statements of affirmation of the fundamental values and principles of the association.

Review of the 37th CMAG meeting

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held its 37th meeting in London on 16 April. The group discussed ways of advancing its mandate which was strengthened by heads of government in Perth last October. CMAG also explored “relevant options” relating to the proposal made by the Eminent Persons’ Group for a Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights, as requested by the leaders in Perth. The outcomes of CMAG’s consideration of that matter will be reported to Commonwealth foreign ministers at their annual meeting in New York in September. CMAG also reviewed developments in relation to the two countries on its agenda, Fiji and Maldives.

Sustaining gains on World Malaria Day

Leading health organisations gathered at the Commonwealth Secretariat on World Malaria Day, 25 April, to discuss how the Commonwealth can assist in sustaining the gains made in tackling the disease. Delegates explored areas in which the Commonwealth can add value, including: educating populations about malaria and its prevention through the media, schools and Commonwealth events; emphasising the economic benefits of tackling the disease to finance ministers; recognising the synergies between malaria and other disease-control programmes; ensuring access to up-to-date guidance; and advocating for malaria to remain on the global and national agendas.

A call for action on the rights of persons with disabilities

On 3 May, the Commonwealth and partners met to raise awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the challenges preventing disabled people from equal participation in society. The meeting coincided with the fourth anniversary of the convention and was held at Marlborough House in London. Commonwealth member states were urged to hasten efforts towards ratification and implementation. Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General Steve Cutts said it was also important to encourage states that have ratified the convention to look at ways of turning commitments into action.

G20 summit promises to deliver for non-G20 countries

Prior to the G20 summit on 18-19 June, Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma met on 14 May to discuss the top priorities of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable states.

Sharma said, “Our consultations with incumbent G20 chairs ensure that strong political messages about the priorities of non-G20 members are taken into account.” He added that the Commonwealth and La Francophonie are making practical policy contributions to the G20’s Development Working Group at a technical level, to ensure that the needs of non-G20 countries are factored into the policy options and that solutions are being developed. “Our G20 efforts are aimed at promoting an inclusive approach to developing policies for the world economy.”  Rory Butler, Commonwealth News Writer, Commonwealth Secretariat


Post a comment

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Amnesty International