- The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), held every two years, was held in Malta
- It is an association of 53 independent nations
- The countries of the Commonwealth represent nearly one-third of the world’s population.
- As its heads of government gathered in Malta, there were pressing matters to consider.
- Countering violent extremism is a priority; so too is climate change, the effects of which are a particular threat to low-lying territories in the Pacific.
- And a few days short of the Paris conference on global warming, French President Francois Hollande is breaking off from his domestic security challenges to address Commonwealth leaders on the need for decisive action on global warming.
- Because its membership includes industrialised G7 powers like Britain and Canada, emerging giants like India and tiny island microstates such as the Maldives, agreement in the Commonwealth has historically boded well for deals being struck beyond its bounds.
- Though global warming topped the agenda at the 2015 summit, world leaders also tackled the hot-button issues of extremism, corruption and migration.
- Climate change
- A climate change agreement signed by the Commonwealth has made clinching a deal at the upcoming Paris COP21 talks more likely
- They pledged to demand an “ambitious” and legally binding outcome from the world climate change summit in Paris
- The organisation said it was confident its agreement would “put the global community on track towards low-emission and climate-resilient societies and economies.
- It launched a Climate Finance Access Hub aimed at smaller island states that want to get access to funds to mitigate against the effects of climate change, with Australia, Britain, Canada and India pledging billions of dollars (euros).
- UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to set up a Commonwealth unit to target the extremism and pledged £5m to help fund the unit. Mr Cameron has pledged £1m funding annually, for five years, to help set up the unit
- He also pledged another £200,000 for expanding a European counter-radicalisation youth programme to include the Commonwealth. It will try and prevent young people from becoming radicalised, primarily through education and civil society networks.
- The group of nations has a vital role to play in tackling terrorism. Its civil society and education networks make it particularly well placed to complement international efforts to build counter narratives to this poisonous extremist ideology.
- In a bid to tackle the rise of violent extremism, the organisation said it was “imperative to counter the use of the Internet by extremist groups to radicalise and recruit fighters.”
- The Malta summit emphasised the link between global warming and migration, warning that “worsening impacts of climate change will increase climate-induced migration” — meaning wealthy nations will be increasingly affected by the fate of developing countries.
- While the movement of peoples could deliver economic and social benefits, the Commonwealth said it was “deeply concerned” by the increase in flows of refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants and it was committed to “responding decisively”.
- The leaders also discussed combating corruption — with British Prime Minister David Cameron insisting it was linked to radicalisation — and promised “enhanced transparency and collaboration among law enforcement bodies”.
- Trade finanace facility
- Sri Lanka, India, Malta and Mauritius have come together to establish a Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility to boost trade and investment flows, particularly for developing nations of the Commonwealth.
- The four countries have inked the document, Declaration of Intent, as anchor investors at the Summit
- The facility, structured as a guarantee fund, will cover risk for providers of trade credit in financial institutions of Commonwealth countries. It seeks to stimulate lending by major banks to smaller banks in member states and reduce risk.
- The fund, voluntary in nature, hopes to attract start-up capital of $ 20 million. It will provide member countries facing trade challenges with the funds.
- It is estimated for every dollar invested, the fund will generate $ 20
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