Key events and meetings

Iana Seales

Young people should be prioritised ‘at the highest levels’

The eighth Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting ended in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on 19 April with a commitment by ministers to push for the inclusion of young people in development planning and ensure their contributions and needs are prioritised at the highest levels of government. Their recommendations, after three days of deliberations, are outlined in the final communiqué, which will be submitted for consideration to Commonwealth Heads of Government when they meet in Sri Lanka in November.

Commonwealth and La Francophonie countries to G20: keep development high on the agenda

Finance ministers, central bank governors and senior officials from Commonwealth and La Francophonie countries concluded their meeting with Russia, the 2013 G20 host, with a call to the group of leading economies to keep the objectives of narrowing the development gap and addressing the challenges of poor, small and vulnerable developing countries high on the agenda. The meeting, which took place at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC on 21 April, identified financing for infrastructure, finance, human resource development, knowledge sharing and financial inclusion as key priority areas for attention of the G20 to ensure the creation of jobs and improve livelihoods.

Leaders of very small states hosted by Secretariat in London

Leaders and representatives of very small states in the Commonwealth concluded a three-day conference in London on 26 April looking at solutions to the distinctive challenges they face in delivering sustainable development. The meeting, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, focused on governance, policy and public administration in micro-states, which account for 19 of the Commonwealth’s members. Delegates identified solutions for creating an effective working relationship between elected politicians and senior public officials.

Sustainable reconciliation ‘needs moral leadership, financing and balance’

Moral leadership, financial support and the right balance between different mechanisms for reconciliation are critical for lasting peace, a Commonwealth roundtable concluded on 3 May. Representatives of Commonwealth countries that have experience of post-conflict reconciliation ended a three-day meeting in London by urging the Commonwealth Secretariat to facilitate further exchanges and support in this area.

Commonwealth and EITI to promote revenue transparency

Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General, and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Chair Clare Short have announced a partnership between the Commonwealth and EITI. The announcement was made at the sixth EITI Global Conference in Sydney, Australia. EITI is a coalition of governments, partner organisations, companies and civil society organisations. It was established in 2002 to promote a global standard of transparency concerning revenue arising from the development of natural resources throughout the world. The EITI Standard requires countries and companies that sign up to it to commit to publicly listing all payments made to governments by companies and all material revenues received by governments from companies.

Call for Commonwealth action on integrity in sport

Sport and development leaders concluded a two-day meeting in London on 12 June with an urgent call for Commonwealth action on sport integrity. The Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport (CABOS) reiterated growing alarm expressed by Commonwealth sport ministers and their international colleagues on the failure to effectively address issues impacting the integrity of sport, namely sport governance, match-fi xing and the safeguarding of sport participants. CABOS is an independent body, providing advice on sport policy issues and Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) to Commonwealth members and the Commonwealth Secretariat. SDP is about using sport as a tool to advance development and peace objectives. At the meeting, members agreed to develop a statement of Commonwealth consensus to promote the transparency and accountability of sport bodies.

Women are the next emerging growth market, ministers told

Commonwealth women’s affairs ministers concluded their three-day tenth triennial meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 19 June 2013 with a call for the Commonwealth to explore innovative, inclusive and accessible financing to support women entrepreneurs. This reflected the meeting’s theme: ‘Women’s leadership for enterprise’. The meeting’s final communiqué also called for strengthened systems to increase the representation of women in political decision-making at all levels, including through affirmative policies and electoral reform.

Joseph Stiglitz calls for a ‘right to trade’

Nobel prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz called for a ‘right to trade’ to be enshrined in the rules of the World Trade Organization and enforced through its dispute settlement system, in a new report for The Commonwealth on 26 June. In ‘The Right to Trade: Rethinking the Aid for Trade Agenda’, authors Professor Stiglitz and Andrew Charlton propose a ‘right to trade’ mechanism that would enable countries to bring legal action to the WTO against states whose policies restrict their ability to trade. Professor Stiglitz said: “The ‘right to development’ and the ‘right to trade’ should be part of the legal framework of the WTO.”

About the author:

Iana Seales is a Commonwealth news writer at the Commonwealth Secretariat


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