Same-sex marriage, $2trn intra-Commonwealth trade, Ban on plastics… highlights from CHOGM 2018
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting came to an end on Friday night as the secretary general, Patricia Scotland and leaders from four regions of the Commonwealth addressed the press.
Scotland was joined by UK Prime minister Theresa May; President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana; Keith Mitchell, Prime minister of Grenada; and Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, Prime minister of Samoa.
They shared the conclusions of the various meetings of the Commonwealth leaders with the press.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM CHOGM 2018
BLUE CHARTER: NO OVERFISHING
According to Prime minister Theresa May, the leaders agreed on a bold, co-ordinated push to protect the ocean from the effects of climate change, pollution and over-fishing.
She revealed that the UK and Vanuatu will lead on tackling ocean plastics, supported by the UK’s £60 million commitment to a Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance.
BAN ON PLASTICS
“At this summit, we have taken specific actions to protect our oceans with the first ever Commonwealth Blue Charter. We are already seeing a series of commitments that can mark the breakthrough on the battle to save our oceans,” May said.
“For instance, Papua New Guinea has banned plastic bags, Belize will ban plastic bags, forks, and other single-use items by 2019. New Zealand has announced a ban on microbeads, which will come into effect in June.
“The Bahamas is planning to ban plastic bags this year, and the UK has pledged to ban plastic straws, and plastic stem cotton buds”
HALF MALARIA CASES BY 2023
With over 90 percent of Commonwealth citizens living in malaria-affected countries, and 445,000 deaths per year, the Commonwealth pledged half malaria cases by 2023.
The countries in the Commonwealth, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, committed a total of £2.7 billion to get this done.
At the final press conference, May re-emphasised the UK’s stance on reversing “outdated laws” that criminalise same-sex marriages.
“We have reaffirmed our commitment to a fairer future in which everyone is free to live their life and their full potential,” she said.
“I’ve been clear that nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love.
“The United Kingdom stands ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that permits discrimination, including against same-sex relations.”
$2 TRILLION INTRA-COMMONWEALTH TRADE
Patricia Scotland said the leaders unanimously committed themselves to the vision of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade to $2 trillion by 2030, and expanding intra-Commonwealth investment.
“The Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment underpins our commitment to ensuring that we leverage the CommonwealthAdvantage for the benefit of all of our 53 member states,” Scotland said
“It recognises the importance of the multilateral trading system in ensuring the integration of small, vulnerable and least developed countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific into the world economy, and welcome initiatives which will support greater and more effective participation of these countries in international trade.”
PRINCE CHARLES AS NEXT HEAD OF THE COMMONWEALTH
Prince Charles to take over from mother
Fulfiling the sincere wish of Queen Elizabeth II, Theresa May said the heads of government decided today that Prince Charles of Wales, will become the next head of the Commonwealth.
Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana added that it was as a result of a strong consensus from the 53 heads of state.
WORLD LARGEST COMMITMENT TO CYBER SECURITY
The 53 countries committed to the declaration of the world’s largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cybersecurity cooperation.
This followed an announcement by the UK government to pledge up to £15 million to help Commonwealth countries strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities and “tackle criminal groups and hostile state actors who pose a global threat to security, including in the UK”.
The next Commonwealth Head of Government Forum will be held in Rwanda.