The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has finally started as leaders from across the family of nations meet to address global issues and Commonwealth priorities for the first time in four years.
Leaders from 54 countries will gather in Kigali, Rwanda this week for the CHOGM 2022, the sixth time the event has been hosted by an African country.
The week-long summit is expected to attract over 5,000 participants from government, business, and civil society under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.
Meetings began in the Rwandan capital on 19 June with four forums – covering youth, women, business and civil society.
On the same day, hundreds of youth from all corners of the Commonwealth gathered together for the opening of the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF). The three-day forum will be a unique opportunity for young leaders to bring policy recommendations to their governments – asserting their role in shaping the future of the Commonwealth.
“Since the last time the Commonwealth family came together for CHOGM in 2018, the onset of COVID-19, new and ongoing conflicts, and the accelerated impact of climate change have fundamentally altered the global landscape and tested our resilience,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC.
“This succession of events has changed lives, livelihoods, communities and economies. We know that in times of crises, the poor and most vulnerable are disproportionately affected. Many development gains, likewise, have been thrown off track, while others have regressed.
“That’s why with eight years to go until the Sustainable Development Goals ‘endgame,’ leaders at CHOGM are committed to harnessing lessons learned, working together and taking inspiration from the innovative solutions that we’ve seen emerge over the past few years.
“The Commonwealth is a bedrock for member states, rooted in a shared history, collective aspirations and progressive solutions. At a time when multilateralism is under serious strain, CHOGM offers a vital forum to deliver the objectives of member states and an opportunity to draw upon all the talents of the member states to deliver a smarter, more resilient, prosperous, confident and sustainable Commonwealth.”
Several side meetings will take place during CHOGM and cover topics including violence against women and girls, climate change, access to justice and sustainable ocean protection and economic development.
The formal Opening Ceremony takes place on Friday 24 June at the Kigali Convention Centre and is followed by closed-door Executive Sessions at which leaders will consider a range of topical issues including post COVID-19 economic recovery, debt sustainability, climate change, trade and food security.
CHOGM 2022 was originally due to take place in 2020 but has twice been postponed due to COVID-19. The last country to host CHOGM in 2018 was the UK and the host country for CHOGM 2024 will be announced at this week’s summit.
Learn more: The Commonwealth Secretariat