Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 9th November 2018.

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Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Chair, High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill Select Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress has been made on the actions agreed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Further to my answer to PQ 162458, the UK continues to work with the three pillars of the Commonwealth – the Commonwealth Secretariat, its member states, and its people to people networks – to deliver on commitments set out in the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) communique. For example;

  • Member states have increased cooperation in international organisations. In Geneva, the UK hosted a meeting of Commonwealth Permanent Representatives to discuss multilateral issues in advance of the Human Rights Council. New Zealand has hosted a similar Commonwealth meeting to discuss issues relating to the World Trade Organisation. In New York, it has been agreed that Commonwealth members of the UN Security Council will regularly brief other Commonwealth countries in Security Council business.

  • The Prime Minister included a passage on the Commonwealth in her speech to the UN General Assembly. She spoke explicitly as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on behalf of the Heads of Government of 53 Commonwealth countries – over a quarter of the UN membership – to reaffirm their shared shared commitment to work together within a rules based international system to address shared global challenges.

  • The UK and Ghana convened the inaugural meeting of the Commonwealth-led Digital Finance Champions Group in Accra on 26 September. The initiative will drive the use of secure and inclusive digital finance, especially for vulnerable and underbanked people.

  • The Commonwealth Standards Network launched in Geneva on 26 September. The network aims to boost trade between Commonwealth member states by increasing the use of existing international standards. The network will allow member states to share knowledge and enable the creation of vital links between our economies.

  • Following the lead of Commonwealth Heads of Government, 152 countries have now endorsed the joint statement calling on states to leave no girl behind, and provide opportunity for at least 12 years of quality education for all girls and boys.

  • Following its launch in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, over 1,300 women entrepreneurs have registered with 'SheTrades Commonwealth'. The Programme aims to increase economic growth and job creation by enabling the increased participation of women-owned businesses in international trade.

  • Guyana has become the first country to partner with the UK funded Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme to develop a Maritime Economy Plan. The Programme aims to support the sustainable growth and development of 17 Commonwealth Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean and Pacific.

  • Twenty countries, over a third of the Commonwealth, have now signed up to the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance – the Blue Charter Action Group co-chaired by the UK and Vanuatu to tackle marine plastic pollution. During her visit to Africa in September, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would make up to an additional £5 million available to provide technical assistance to developing countries that join the initiative.

  • The Prime Minister also announced a Young Leaders Plastic Challenge Badge, working in partnership with UN Environment, Scouts and Girl Guides, to help an estimated 50,000 young people in Kenya and two further African countries to become leaders in raising awareness about the importance of reducing plastic consumption.

  • In support of the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration, the UK has partnered with the World Bank to deliver national cyber security capacity reviews in 11 member states. With support from Oxford University's Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre and Australia's Oceania Centre, we are now well placed to meet the commitment for every Commonwealth country to voluntarily undertake reviews by CHOGM 2020.

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