Commonwealth leaders and ministers have met for high-level discussions on how to best strengthen support for the Commonwealth’s Small States as the Secretariat has secured extra funding for Small Island Developing States.
On the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, ministers have stressed the need to forge partnerships to mobilise global efforts on the issues affecting small states – such as the persistent environmental, health and economic hurdles accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The containment measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the halting of all non-essential travel – on which Small States heavily rely – have severely impacted the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Commonwealth Small States, which contracted by 7.2 per cent.
The economic recovery of Small States now depends on vaccination rates and distribution, alongside fiscal support and the recovery of international travel and tourism.
Against this backdrop, the Commonwealth Secretariat has secured $10 million in extra funding for Small Island Developing States. The investment will be made in partnership with Cambridge University.
The collaboration will strive to bring young people together with political leaders and world-leading experts to generate and test new policy ideas. As part of the project, teams will generate funding templates for Small Island Developing States to attract new investment designed to promote young participation and sustainable development.
Of the recently secured $10 million, $5 million will be provided by Simplilearn across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific to provide 10,000 young people with digital training. The remaining investment will come from GOQii as part of their effort to promote healthy lifestyles among young people and from Pop India, who will invest in youth connectivity and jobs in the Caribbean region.
“Attracting finance for Small Island Developing States to engage young people in shaping their sustainable futures is a major challenge,” said Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
“I am delighted that our collaboration with Cambridge University is already bearing fruit and unlocking finance for the states which most need it. We will look to take this work from strength to strength.”
Learn more: The Commonwealth Secretariat