KIGALI (CU)_Events scheduled for the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (KIGALI ) are currently underway, having commenced on Sunday (19 June). One of the events on the agenda for the summit was a breakfast meeting co-hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Fiji on Tuesday, aimed at discussing the ongoing climate crisis, with a particular focus on ocean climate action and its effects on the small island nations of the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth leaders are expected to discuss several matters of mutual interest, including climate change. Shared climate ambitions, financing climate action and rebuilding sustainable green and blue economies will be discussed by the heads of government in their executive sessions later this week. During the breakfast meeting on Tuesday, Fiji’s High Commissioner to the UK, Jitoko Tikolevu, addressed an audience of diplomatic officials from fellow island nations. “The ocean and climate are inextricably inter-connected and the health of our oceans dictate the livelihoods of millions of people around the world, from the Pacific to the Atlantic,” he said. “The challenges facing our oceans and its resources are diverse and complex and yet our answer is simple, we need action!”
Echoing these views, the Head of Oceans and Natural Resources at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr Nicholas Hardman-Mountford, said: “The harsh reality of climate change is that it affects all sectors of society, and all realms of the planet, including the ocean. The climate crisis is also an ocean crisis. Action Groups under the Commonwealth’s flagship ocean programme, the Blue Charter, are each responding to climate change under their respective themes.”
For several years now, ocean climate action has been a major focus area in the Commonwealth’s efforts to tackle the ongoing climate crisis. The Commonwealth Blue Charter was initiated as a result. Endorsed at the last CHOGM in 2018, it is a historic commitment made by the 54 member states of the Commonwealth to work together to protect and manage our ocean. Over the past few years, over 15 countries have initiated ten thematic Action Groups aimed at sharing knowledge and aligning strategies to tackle marine plastic pollution, disappearing coral reefs and other ocean-related challenges. Nearly 300 government officials involved in the ocean sector from across the Commonwealth have registered with the Commonwealth Blue Charter Knowledge Hub, which provides them access to free knowledge resources, training and networking opportunities.