by Linda Straker
- Ministers discussed Commonwealth responses to Covid-19 pandemic
- Minsters supported ‘Commonwealth Says No More’ campaign
- Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2021
Oliver Joseph was among foreign ministers from across the Commonwealth who on Wednesday, 14 October participated in their first ever virtual meeting for foreign ministers.
The 20th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting would usually take place alongside the United Nations General Assembly but was held virtually this year due to the limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the meeting Ministers discussed Commonwealth responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and mutual aid and support in dealing with its impact.
“In a broad ranging discussion, they took the opportunity to discuss joint priorities in areas including the response to the global Covid-19 pandemic and its health, social and economic impacts. They also addressed climate change and preparations for next year’s COP26 meeting to be held in Glasgow, UK, and looked forward to further addressing these issues at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2021,” said a news release from the Commonwealth Secretariat, Communications Department.
Commonwealth Secretary General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, said, “As a Commonwealth family we are at a defining moment, witnessing unprecedented disruptions affecting all of our member states. We are seeing health, social, environmental and financial fragility in the unfolding coronavirus pandemic.
“We have an opportunity as a Commonwealth family, to tackle the ongoing linked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and to ensure that global economic recovery is environmentally sustainable across the Commonwealth.
“There is also a strong call for a new fiscal architecture, bearing in mind that small states are worried about their very existence, with a call from many of our member states for an overhaul of access to financial support to help small states facing the perfect storm of Covid-19, climate change and a dramatic fall in tourism.
“This crisis calls on us all to lend a helping hand to those in need. Ministers, we all agree that we shall overcome if we are bold, practical and focused in our multilateral approach to Commonwealth action.”
Commonwealth Ministers also took time to express their solidarity against racism and discrimination in all its forms and approved a joint Commonwealth statement on this seminal issue. During the meeting wide support was also given by Minsters for the ‘Commonwealth Says No More’ campaign, which seeks to end domestic and sexual violence across the Commonwealth. Ministers also supported action to promote gender equality, including women’s economic empowerment and impact on girls’ education and development.
Besides Minister Joseph, the other participants in the meeting were Permanent Secretary in Foreign Affairs, Roxie McLeish Hutchinson, and High Commissioner to the UK, Kisha Grant.
It was chaired by the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, The Rt. Honourable Dominic Raab.
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