(CU)_The international community celebrated Earth Day on Friday (22 April), demonstrating support for the protection of the environment. This year, the event was combated at a time when extreme weather conditions claim the lives of millions of people annually. In the Commonwealth, every member state has been experiencing the brutal effects of climate change, and this was highlighted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland in a statement issued on Earth Day.
“The connection between planet and people has never been starker than now, as we witness increasing evidence of how our own human actions and habits can impact our Earth’s life support systems so profoundly, whether on land, in the ocean or in the atmosphere,” the statement read. She added that while every Commonwealth nation has been adversely affected by the climate crisis, small and other vulnerable nations are most at risk, with many of them already feeling the brunt of impacts. “But, as I said at COP26, we must act boldly together to protect the only planet that we have. Lives and livelihoods across the Commonwealth literally depend on it,” the Secretary-General noted.
“Climate change and ocean action is a central priority for me as Secretary-General. And as we look towards the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda this June, climate and ocean action will be prioritised on the leaders’ agenda.”
During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is scheduled to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, in June this year, the adoption of the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter will be among the key items of discussion between the leaders. They will also discuss the setting up of an Action Fund in order to support efforts aimed at protecting our oceans under the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
“Since Commonwealth leaders issued the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment in 1989, through to COP26 in Glasgow, we have remained committed to fostering a sustainable and climate resilient planet for all humanity. This important legacy continues through our programmes and our advocacy, designed to serve the 2.5 billion people who call the Commonwealth home, 60 percent of whom are under the age of 30,” Secretary-General Scotland said in her statement.