“The Paris Agreement is an essential tool when it comes to coordinated universal action, and time is against us, so we need to implement policies now.”
Malta’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela, called for immediate global action on climate change during the pre-CHOGM Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting held on his second day attending the event in London.
His intervention was made during the ‘A More Sustainable Future’ session, where he explained how Malta considers the Paris Agreement to be ambitious, fair, balanced, and legally binding under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change: “It is an essential tool when it comes to coordinated universal action, but we have been discussing this issue for long enough, and time is against us, so we need to implement policies now.”
He described how Malta had been at the forefront of initiatives like these since 1967, when they raised the issue at the UN. And welcomed the adoption of the Commonwealth Blue Charter. “Malta would be delighted to take on the role of Blue Charter champion on capacity building and training of members states in ocean and climate governance.”
The full-day meeting focused on the theme ‘Towards a Common Future’, and was split into four sessions, including ‘A more sustainable future’. The minister also intervened during ‘A more prosperous future’, which focused on boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment as a driver of inclusive economic growth for all member states, including small states.
“Smaller states have the same needs as larger ones, but we lack the means to reach our goals. That is why the Trade Finance Facility was created, but it needs full support, including more pledges and financial contributions. And the business sector needs to be a key partner. While the role of governments is to facilitate and invest. The meeting of last year’s Commonwealth Trade Ministers was an important step, but we now need to follow up with the milestones.”
Other sessions included ‘A More Secure Future’, which addressed transnational security threats, especially cybersecurity, preventing and countering violent extremism, plus serious and organised crime. Members discussed ways in which the Commonwealth can build capacity, by developing and sharing international best practise to enhance security across the world.
The ‘A Fairer Future’ session looked at how democratic institutions can be strengthened to promote peaceful and inclusive societies. And it was felt by all member states that the Commonwealth can bolster its leadership in this space.