KIGALI (CU)_The government of Rwanda is hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali this week, where leaders of the 54 member states will meet for the first time in four years. The Heads of Government Meeting was initially scheduled to be held in 2020, following the last summit in 2018. However, event was postponed twice on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this year’s summit, held under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’, the Commonwealth leaders will address global issues and Commonwealth priorities. It is expected to be attended by over 5,000 participants from political, business and civil societies.
In a statement issued by the Commonwealth Secretariat on Sunday (19 June), the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, noted that since the last Heads of Government Meeting held in London, in 2018, the pandemic, together with conflict and climate change have “altered the global landscape and tested our resilience”. She added that these events had a significant impact on people and communities, with the poor and most vulnerable being disproportionately affected in times of crises. According to Scotland, this is why Commonwealth leaders are committed to working together, harnessing lessons learned and taking inspiration from the innovative solutions.
“The Commonwealth is a bedrock for member states, rooted in a shared history, collective aspirations and progressive solutions,” the Secretary-General said. “At a time when multilateralism is under serious strain, CHOGM offers a vital forum to deliver the objectives of member states and an opportunity to draw upon all the talents of the member states to deliver a smarter, more resilient, prosperous, confident and sustainable Commonwealth.”
Meetings in Kigali began on Sunday (19 June), with the Women’s, Youth, People and Business Forums running concurrently at different venues. Other events on the agenda include Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and a Ministerial Meeting for the Commonwealth’s 32 Small Island Developing States, both of which will be held on Wednesday (22 June). The schedule for Thursday includes a meeting of Foreign Ministers to review the leaders’ agenda and receive outcomes from the four forums, as well as the traditional Commonwealth Sports Breakfast, showcasing preparations for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The formal opening ceremony will be held on Friday, followed by executive sessions, during which the Commonwealth leaders will discuss a range of issues, including the economic recovery from the pandemic, debt sustainability, trade and food security and the climate crisis. The events will culminate with the official Retreat for leaders at the Intare Conference Arena on Saturday (25 June).