The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) ended in Kigali, Rwanda on Saturday with the leaders underscoring the importance of connecting, innovating, and transforming in order to facilitate a full recovery by member states from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with the theme of the 2022 CHOGM meeting – ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’ – the leaders also resolved to respond to conflicts and crises in ways that increase resilience and progress in delivering a common future, underpinned by sustainability, peace and prosperity, to improve the lives of all the people of the Commonwealth.
The group issued a communique at the end of the two-day summit of heads of government, in which it acknowledged that the resolutions are coming at a time of uneven recovery from the COVID19 pandemic, new threats to economic security and political stability in the international system, and when many across the Commonwealth are directly and increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change.
In the communiqué, they expressed sorrow for the enormous loss of life and livelihood resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, while affirming that the universal, timely, fair and equitable access to, and distribution of safe, efficacious, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and capacity to administer the same, are key to global recovery.
The leaders therefore, committed themselves to working together, and in close collaboration with other partners in the international community, “to ensure that no one is left behind, including supporting the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX) through adequate funding, supply of vaccines, research and development (R&D) collaboration, local manufacturing, and other measures, and to effectively integrate these services into international health systems”.
They further noted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as a “global blueprint for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and as an opportunity to build a more resilient, peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive world for all and to accelerate progress through the Decade of Action”.
Moreover, they discussed how the modern Commonwealth may build on its achievements and leverage its comparative advantage and its network of organisations to contribute to viable solutions.
Regarding ongoing global conflicts and the associated loss of lives and infrastructure, and the displacement of people. They also discussed Ukraine. In this regard, Heads of Government emphasised “the commitment in the Commonwealth Charter, to international peace and security, and to an effective multilateral system based on international law”.
They underscored the need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, and emphasised that all countries must seek peaceful resolution to all disputes in accordance with international law.
The leaders also stressed that ongoing global conflicts, including in Ukraine, heightens the impact that conflict places on global energy and food security and exacerbates existing high food prices and supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
They therefore, highlighted the need to sustainably transform current food systems to address weaknesses of the agri-food sector, improve productivity, and build resilience in agriculture and supply chains to economic, social and environmental shocks.
They then reaffirmed the importance of maintaining transparent, inclusive, fair and open agricultural markets and trade to ensure the continued flow of food, products and inputs essential for agricultural and food production.
The leaders made other resolutions concerning climate change, economy, health, gender equality, rule of law, youth employment, technology and innovation, sports for development, and some unresolved legal conflicts between member nations.
While thanking Rwanda for a successful hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth summit, where Togo and Gabon were admitted to the group, the communiqué said the leaders also looked forward to another great outing at the next CHOGM to be hosted by the South Pacific island nation of Samoa in 2024.