Commonwealth leaders pledge unified commitment to youth empowerment
Leaders of the Commonwealth’s 56 member states on Friday reaffirmed their unwavering and unified commitment to investing into the 1.5 billion young people across the nations and continuing to strengthen the Commonwealth family.
This meeting was held at Marlborough House, the Headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat in England, ahead of the Coronation of HM King Charles III, which is to take place today.
The King has described the Commonwealth as a “cornerstone” of his life, expressing his unwavering support for the values, people and countries of the Commonwealth, a statement by The Commonwealth relayed.
“I can think of no stronger signal of His Majesty’s deep connection to our Family of Nations than taking time to meet with Commonwealth Leaders at Marlborough House ahead of his Coronation. Earlier this year, the King highlighted the Commonwealth’s ‘near-boundless potential as a force for good,’” said Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland.
After a meeting with the King, each leader met privately to discuss issues of mutual interest, including initiatives to support the empowerment of young people as this year has been designated the Commonwealth Year of Youth.
With more than 60 per cent of the Commonwealth population being younger than 30, this commemorative year aims to propel youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development by offering them a platform during the series of high-profile youth events throughout 2023.
This year also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme that was established to allow young people under the age of 30 to reach their full potential.
During the meeting on Friday, the Secretary General also recognised the growing size, scale and influence of the Commonwealth as the leaders of Togo and Gabon were welcomed to their first meeting of Commonwealth leaders.
President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in his role as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, regarded the two new members and also paid tribute to the new Commonwealth Head.
“We appreciate the King’s lifelong devotion to Commonwealth affairs, just as we remember the role of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in giving the modern Commonwealth its shape and spirit,” President Kagame said.
In 2024, Samoa will succeed Rwanda as chair at the 27th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Apia, its capital city.
Alongside the Leaders’ Meeting, First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame also hosted a gathering of the spouses, partners and invited guests of the Commonwealth Heads of Government.
This event highlighted the action needed to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer and tackle challenges impeding progress towards this goal across the 56 nations, with the spouses and partners in attendance pledging to champion advocacy and action in their respective countries.
Aiming to capitalise on his trip to London, England, President Dr Irfaan Ali – accompanied by the High Commissioner of Guyana to the United Kingdom (UK) Dr Rajendra Singh – met with the Rwandan President on Thursday to discuss advancing Government-to-Government collaboration in areas including energy, technology, health services and urbanisation.
Ali also met with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss efforts being made within Guyana to modernise governance systems and increase use of technology to improve efficiencies of services and policy formulation.
Later, he attended a working dinner hosted by United Phosphorus Limited’s (UPL) Chief Executive Officer Jai Shroff and engaged in conversations surrounding food security and agriculture, a vital topic for Guyana as the country is currently leading the Caribbean Community (Caricom) towards a reduction of their food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.