Leaders from 54 countries will gather in Kigali, Rwanda, this week for the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the sixth time the event has been hosted by an African country.
The week-long summit is expected to attract over 5,000 participants from government, business, and civil society under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.
Meetings began in the Rwandan capital on Sunday 19 June with four forums – covering youth, women, business and civil society – culminating with the official Retreat for leaders at the Intare Conference Arena on Saturday 25 June.
At the Leaders Retreat – unique to the Commonwealth – Heads of Government meet privately to discuss collaboration on global and Commonwealth priorities.
According to Commonwealth Secretary-General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, since the last time the Commonwealth family came together for CHOGM in 2018, the onset of COVID-19, new and ongoing conflicts, and the accelerated impact of climate change have fundamentally altered the global landscape and tested our resilience.
“This succession of events has changed lives, livelihoods, communities and economies. We know that in times of crises, the poor and most vulnerable are disproportionately affected. Many development gains, likewise, have been thrown off track, while others have regressed,” says Hon Patricia.
She added that this is why with eight years to go until the Sustainable Development Goals ‘endgame,’ leaders at CHOGM are committed to harnessing lessons learned, working together and taking inspiration from the innovative solutions that we’ve seen emerge over the past few years.
“The Commonwealth is a bedrock for member states, rooted in a shared history, collective aspirations and progressive solutions. 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,” she noted.
A Ministerial Meeting for the Commonwealth’s 32 Small Island Developing States is scheduled for Wednesday 22 June at which economic vulnerability, climate action and access to finance and debt sustainability are expected to top the agenda.
The Commonwealth has a long history of championing the needs of the Small States, which face unique challenges related to climate change and external economic shocks.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group – which assesses countries at risk of breaching fundamental political values – will also meet on 22 June.
On Thursday 23 June, Foreign Ministers will convene ahead of the main CHOGM sessions to review the leaders’ agenda and receive outcomes from the four forums for consideration by Heads. The traditional Commonwealth Sports Breakfast, also on Thursday 23 June, will showcase preparations for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which begin on 28 July.
Several side meetings will take place during CHOGM and cover topics including violence against women and girls, climate change, access to justice and sustainable ocean protection and economic development.
The formal Opening Ceremony takes place on Friday 24 June at the Kigali Convention Centre and is followed by closed-door Executive Sessions at which leaders will consider a range of topical issues including post-COVID-19 economic recovery, and debt sustainability, climate change, trade and food security.