PERTH, Australia, October 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
CHOGM 2011 in Perth will advance democracy and development agendas for the 54-member association
Commonwealth Heads of Government will gather in Perth, Australia, from 28 to 30 October 2011 for their biennial meeting with proposals for reform on the table which could significantly re-shape the future of the 62-year-old association.
Leaders will meet in the Western Australian city under the theme, Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience, which will examine issues faced by all of the Commonwealth's member countries, especially the most economically vulnerable states.
Heads of Government are expected to consider matters relating to good governance, human rights, climate change, wealth creation, food security and natural resource management in the face of deepening global financial concerns and the debate on aid effectiveness. The Commonwealth's 32 small states - characterised by a population of less than 1.5 million - are particularly exposed to economic shocks and the impact of climate change. Attention is expected to focus on how best to build resilience and to support these countries on mitigation and adaptation.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) takes place ahead of next month's G20 meeting of world leaders, of which five are Commonwealth members, namely Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth summit also takes place on the eve of the Durban Conference of the Parties to the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17).
Two seminal reports are due to be presented to leaders in Perth, both mandated by the leaders when they last met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in November 2009. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) - a representative group of nine foreign ministers charged with protecting the Commonwealth's fundamental political values against serious or persistent violations. The CMAG report is the product of inter-governmental discussion and recommends ways in which its work can be more proactive and positive. Meanwhile, an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) comprising ten distinguished independent Commonwealth personalities, has submitted a report offering 106 recommendations on sharpening the impact, strengthening the networks and raising the profile of the Commonwealth.
Heads of Government will be asked to consider proposals in both reports for reform and renewal of the Commonwealth as an association fit for purpose in the twenty-first century. Strategic partnerships and communications will play an important role in ensuring that the remit of the association is enhanced.
"This will be a CHOGM focused on resilience, reform and renewal," said Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma.
During the meeting, Mr Sharma will unveil the new interactive Commonwealth Connects portal, which will be an online workplace linking Commonwealth organisations, providing a one-stop-shop for Commonwealth-related information, and creating a platform for partnerships and networks.
"This 'network of networks' reflects the unique structure of the Commonwealth in its myriad parts. Commonwealth Connects will both facilitate further knowledge sharing, but also introduce the Commonwealth to a wider audience across the world. We are particularly keen to engage young people in the broader Commonwealth exchange," the Secretary-General said.
With over half of Commonwealth citizens under the age of 25, a focus on young people will continue in this CHOGM, with a four-day Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) taking place in nearby Fremantle, culminating in a unique dialogue between selected youth delegates and leaders. The CYF, the Commonwealth People's Forum - which represents Commonwealth civil society - and the Commonwealth Business Forum, will all take place in the days leading up to CHOGM.
Manoah Esipisu, Conference Spokesperson, CHOGM 2011
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SOURCE The Commonwealth Secretariat