BY BANKERS REPORTER
Gabon and Togo have been admitted as the Commonwealth’s 55th and 56th members, respectively.
However, neither country has a historic association with the Commonwealth, with both gaining independence from France in the 1960s.
Welcoming the announcement, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, said: “I am thrilled to see these vibrant countries join the Commonwealth family and dedicate themselves to the values and aspirations of our Charter.”
Commonwealth leaders officially adopted the Living Lands Charter: A Commonwealth Call to action on Living Lands (CALL), which commits all member countries to safeguard global land resources while taking coordinated action on climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable land management.
The Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation and the Kigali Declaration on Child Care and Protection Reform were also adopted.
The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator was launched on the margins of CHOGM. This new initiative will support Commonwealth ocean states in cultivating and scaling-up projects that protect the marine environment while also tackling climate change.
The Governments of Kenya and Eswatini were named as the new Champion Countries to lead Commonwealth action on geothermal energy and energy literacy, as part of the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition (CSET) Agenda.
In their new roles, they will take the lead in forming voluntary coalitions made up of member countries willing to work together to develop shared strategies and align action on each issue.
In other news, members of the newly installed Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) met face-to-face with heads of government on the margins of CHOGM.
The historic intergenerational dialogue saw young leaders sitting in a circle with prime ministers, presidents, ministers, and heads of delegation from 15 countries, including Rwanda, Canada, Seychelles, and Samoa, for crucial conversations on youth-led sustainable development.
This was followed by the signing of a historic agreement between the Commonwealth Secretariat and some of the world’s largest youth organisations to form the Commonwealth Alliance for Quality Youth Leadership. This partnership will see more than 250 million young people benefit from leadership and life skills.
June 25 marked the end of a week-long programme of high-level events and activities, ministerial meetings and four forums – the Commonwealth Youth Forum; the Commonwealth Women’s Forum; the Commonwealth Business Forum; and the Commonwealth People’s Forum – in the lead-up to CHOGM.