Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne is leading a high-level delegation from Antigua and Barbuda attending the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda from the 20th to the 25th of June 2022. CHOGM has been delayed since June 2020 because of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Browne is accompanied by the Honourable E.P. Chet Greene, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, the Honourable Maria Bird-Browne, Minister for Housing, Lands and Urban Renewal, Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Miss Ideka Dowe, Political and Trade Attaché at the High Commission.
The theme for this year’s CHOGM is “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.” It is focussing on key priority areas which reflect the global challenges to which the Commonwealth must adequately respond. These are fairness, prosperity, security and sustainability.
Commonwealth leaders from across 54 Commonwealth countries will travel to Rwanda to reaffirm their common values and agree actions and policies to improve the lives of all their citizens. Decisions taken at CHOGM also guide the work programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
In addition to the formal working sessions of CHOGM, Prime Minister Gaston Browne will speak on two distinguished panels that will focus on climate change and sustainable economic development. On Wednesday, 22nd June the Prime Minister will join a fireside chat during the Commonwealth Business Forum with colleague Prime Minister Phillip Davis of The Bahamas and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldives to be moderated by Lord Marland, Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. The theme for this session is “Financing the Blue-Green Growth for Sustainable Islands”.
On Thursday 23rd June, the Prime Minister will speak at a high – level panel discussion along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Lee-Hsein Loong of Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister Donald Marles of Australia and the Honourbale Alok Sharma, the COP26 President. The theme for this discussion is “Keeping 1.5 Alive – The Glasgow Climate Pact and Building Momentum towards COP 27.”
On the margins of CHOGM, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister will meet the leaders of several Commonwealth countries in a series of bilateral meetings between Antigua and Barbuda and the respective countries. These meetings will seek to strengthen bilateral ties and deepen cooperation between a number of countries to include Cyprus, Nigeria, Kenya, Malta, Rwanda, Ghana, Canada and the United Kingdom and Antigua and Barbuda.
Additionally, the Prime Minister will attend two closed executive sessions for Commonwealth Heads of Government on Friday 24th June. In the first of these executive sessions an election will be held to select the next Secretary General of the Commonwealth. The candidates are the incumbent Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland of Dominica; Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith of Jamaica and Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli of Tuvalu.
Foreign Minister, E.P. Chet Greene will also represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) and the Commonwealth Ministerial Meeting for Small States.
The Honourable Maria Browne will participate in bilateral meetings. She will also represent Antigua and Barbuda at an important side event on violence against women and girls as well as lay a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation that comprises 54 member nations from Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is one of the largest summits for world leaders across the globe.
It represents one of the most important fora for the issues of small island developing states to be heard and addressed by the international community. It aims to reinforce multilateral cooperation, explore new opportunities, and tackle common challenges for the well-being of future generations.