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29/11/2015 | 11:43 UTC

CHOGM Malta 2015 draws to a close

The three eventful days of CHOGM Malta 2015 have drawn to a close with the summit considered as a truly memorable and successful CHOGM. Addressing the concluding press conference held at Radisson Golden Sands this afternoon, heads of government, representative of the regions of the Commonwealth, gave an overview of what was discussed during these last few days.

Prime Minister of Malta, Hon. Dr. Joseph Muscat expressed his satisfaction at how Commonwealth leaders have managed to converge and agree almost unanimously on the issue of climate change as well as migration. He also stated that despite the differences between Commonwealth countries’ points of view, CHOGM Malta 2015 was evidence of how constructive conversations can occur. “Silence has never helped anyone in changing and getting things to change”, he remarked. Finally, Muscat also thanked all those involved in the organisation of this high-profile event.

President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta stated that the topics discussed during this Commonwealth meeting are not solely concerns for Commonwealth countries but of the entire globe with peace and security issues at the forefront along with climate change. He also commended the way young people were given ample space to put forward their suggestions on such important global issues.

HE Baron Waqa, President of Nauru said that this was a gathering of some of the biggest, smallest, wealthiest and poorest nations and although it might be intimidating discussing certain concepts with countries larger than one’s own, all of the nations have the ability to play their part. He also noted that ‘The issue of Climate Change should not be hijacked by the occurrences during the last few weeks’.

Ghanaian President, HE John Dramani Mahama noted that the Valletta Summit on Migration and CHOGM Malta 2015 dovetail into each other. There is a lot that we can learn from this Commonwealth Meeting mainly how we can increase cooperation and embrace the values of good governance and democracy.

RT Hon. Jerome Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, described how this meeting reinforced the relevance of the Commonwealth. He emphasised how as a citizen of the Caribbean region, climate change is one of his main concerns. He noted that ‘when the planet speaks, we have no choice but to listen. And the planet is speaking to us with certain eloquence’.

Finally, outgoing Secretary General HE Kamalesh Sharma recounted this as a ‘memorable and water-shed CHOGM with the Commonwealth establishing an ambitious threshold for the coming years and a force creating global good’.

 

To read the full leaders’ statement click here: http://bit.ly/1XoV7AD 

 

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28/11/2015 | 16:45 UTC

Commonwealth Leaders and Polio Survivors Unite for Polio-Free World

Leaders from Malta, Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan and UK, UN Secretary-General and Commonwealth Secretary-General Designate call for one last push to end deadly disease

MALTA, 28 November 2015 – Commonwealth leaders united in Malta today to recommit to ending polio. During the high-level event hosted by Prime Minister Muscat of Malta at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, polio survivor Ramesh Ferris called on leaders to finish the job and eradicate polio. Standing shoulder to shoulder, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion of Canada, the Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire of the UK, and newly elected Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland joined a packed event to commend the historic progress made against polio and commit to ending the disease once and for all.  
 
"We will continue to offer our leadership on this issue. I believe with the support of fellow leaders we will manage to eradicate polio,” said host of the event Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
 
In 1987, when Commonwealth leaders met in Vancouver, more than 350,000 cases of polio crippled and killed children in 125 countries annually. The following year, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was formed to wipe polio off the face of the earth. Hundreds of millions of children have been reached since with lifesaving polio vaccines, which have protected an estimated 13 million people from lifelong paralysis. This year, only Pakistan and Afghanistan have had cases of wild poliovirus and there are signs of progress.
 
“Pakistan has made polio eradication a national cause. Our priority is to reach out to each and every child so no child remains unvaccinated,” said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “I am pleased to note that we have been able to significantly reduce the number of polio cases in Pakistan and we will not rest until polio is eradicated from our country.”
 
Commonwealth heads of government have historically been at the forefront of work to eradicate polio. At the Commonwealth meeting in Perth in 2011, over $100 million in new funds were pledged toward ending polio. Since the Commonwealth’s statement of support four years ago, there has been unprecedented progress against the virus. India and the entire South East Asia Region were certified polio-free last year and dangerous outbreaks in the Horn of Africa and Middle East were stopped as well.
 
"We are very committed to this campaign and this issue. It is of vital importance to the people of every country,” said Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. “It's a great tribute to the generosity, the philanthropy, in the truest sense of the world, of the Commonwealth that polio eradication is deemed such a big priority in Malta.”
 
Recent estimates suggest it will cost an additional $1.5 billion to end polio and ensure that hundreds of millions of children are vaccinated multiple times against the disease. Surveillance systems will also need to be improved so that if polio outbreaks do happen, they can be stopped quickly and effectively.
 
“Polio struck down many of my generation, and now we are on the verge of striking down polio,” said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “My thanks to the Commonwealth leaders for their support, and together, let us make the final push and wipe out polio from this earth."
 
For the first time, Nigeria, one of the last polio strongholds, made history by reaching one year without registering a case of wild polio, and all countries on the African continent have now gone a year without a single case of wild polio. However, to ensure Nigeria and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) African region do not let polio return, there will need to be increased investments in vaccinating children in hard to reach areas and strengthening surveillance.
 
"No case of polio was reported since July 2014. This unprecedented feat informed the decision of the WHO to delist Nigeria from polio endemic countries in October this year,” said Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama. “The country is poised and committed to remaining vigilant to ensure that we completely eradicate polio from Nigeria.”
 
Several countries that made financial commitments at the Global Vaccine Summit, which took place in Abu Dhabi in 2013, outlined their ongoing commitment.
 
"Canada has changed its government, but our commitment remains,” said Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion. “We were proud to commit $250 million in Abu Dhabi at the 2013 Global Vaccine Summit. We are proud to be a donor of global polio eradication efforts and we will continue to do so until polio is gone."
 
“I am proud of the role the United Kingdom has played [in polio eradication], including our pledge of £300 million pounds to support the GPEI,” said the UK’s Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Hugo Swire. “I urge Commonwealth countries to demonstrate their continued resolve in this fight. Together, I believe their leadership and commitment will help the world achieve one of its greatest ever public health success stories."
 
The theme of this year’s Commonwealth meeting is, ‘Adding Global Value’. Eradicating polio will not only be a major public health success, it will also mean global savings of more than US$50 billion over the next 20 years, and allow public health workers, governments and communities to apply the lessons learned in eradicating polio to other health priorities. Although polio is still endemic in only two countries, the potential for new outbreaks will persist until every country is certified polio free.
 
“Until polio is gone everywhere, it is a threat everywhere,” said Ravi Ravindran, President of Rotary International. “In 1988, we committed Rotary to ending polio. We’re sticking with it, until we have delivered a polio-free world to all future generations.”
 
Newly elected Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland also joined the meeting and pledged ongoing Commonwealth support to the polio effort. "I think this is an exemplary example of what the Commonwealth can do when it collaborates and works together with focus to bring something about, and I hope this is just the beginning."  
 
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The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since its launch at the World Health Assembly in 1988, the GPEI has reduced the global incidence of polio by more than 99%.
 
The GPEI receives financial support from governments of countries affected by polio; private sector foundations, donor governments, multilateral organizations, private individuals, humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations and corporate partners. A full list of all contributors is available on the GPEI website: http://www.polioeradication.org/Portals/0/Document/Financing/HistoricalContributions.pdf
28/11/2015 | 16:36 UTC

The Business Community explores avenues for a More Prosperous Commonwealth

The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF), possibly the most established of the four fora preceding CHOGM, took place between 24 and 26 November and addressed the themes of Financial Services, Technology, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Tourism Sustainability and the Maritime industry.

The Forum – which saw a 1300 strong attendance by delegates from 75 countries, was addressed by no less than 15 Heads o Government, and 180 leaders from the Government and private sector. The theme for CBF built on the overarching theme for CHOGM and addressed the concept of “Adding Global Value: Creating a More Prosperous Commonwealth”. 

CBF came to a close with a call to double the intra-commonwealth trade to US$ 1 trillion before 2020.  Recommendations by the Forum included the commitment of Commonwealth Governments to support the development of a Commonwealth Green Finance Facility to encourage investment by the private sector in projects that support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and address the impacts of Climate Change. A working group chaired by Lord Marland of Odstock, Chairman of the CWEIC and Justin Mundy, Director of The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit (I.S.U) would be set up to develop this facility. 

Other outcomes included the Global Goals Commonwealth Sustainable Business Challenge to encourage companies to consider engaging with the SDGs and build them into their business and operational strategy. The online business collaboration Commonwealth Trade Initiative and the SME-oriented CommonwealthFirst were two other initiatives resulting from the Commonwealth Business Forum. CBF also offered a strong opportunity for networking and the setting up of Business Deals with over 300 pre-arranged one-to-one meetings and 17 country and regional investment windows. 

More details on the CBF outcomes, as well as future priorities recognised may be found in the Interim Communiqué and Report to Heads of Government (CHOGM) here: http://bit.ly/1NAReUC

 

28/11/2015 | 12:58 UTC

A Call for Action on Gender Equality

The Commonwealth Women’s Forum, the first forum of its kind to be organised parallel to CHOGM Malta 2015, tackled the concept of gender equality and the empowerment of women in various sectors under the theme of ‘Women Ahead: Be All That You Can Be’.

The results of parallel sessions, focusing mainly on the inclusion of women in society, were summarised in an outcome document entitled ‘Women’s Forum:  A Call for Action on Gender Equality beyond 2015’. 

Participants at the Commonwealth Women’s Forum called on heads of government to recognise this pilot forum as a platform to transform the mainstream processes with effective monitoring to be observed by member states of all 53 Commonwealth countries. Commitments to gender equality and women empowerment should take centre stage and be high on the agenda. 

It was noted that women tend to be under-represented in comparison to men in leadership positions. Other topics which were discussed in light of this include equal pay, the role of women in eliminating discriminatory laws and ensuring a level playing field for both men and women. 

Targets and quotas related to gender equality were also set in the same document. In conclusion, participants at the Women’s Forum believe that establishing an independent Technical Working Group on gender equality and women’s empowerment in alignment with the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the right way forward. Progress should then be reported during subsequent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. 

For the outcome document of the first inaugural Women's Forum please follow the link - http://bit.ly/1RebqfP 

27/11/2015 | 16:00 UTC

New Commonwealth Secretary-General appointed

Baroness Patricia Scotland has been officially been appointed as the 6th Commonwealth Secretary General Designate. She is the first female to occupy the post and will take up office next April.

Speaking during a press conference, Baroness Scotland expressed her pride and gratitude at being given such a privilege at the same time when the first-ever Commonwealth Women’s Forum recognized the importance of women in leadership.

 

She added that “The Commonwealth shares a great deal. It has 33 per cent of the world's population. It has the capacity to bring together people of all religions; concentrate on what joins us. It's a real opportunity to invest and work together. If you work together with people respectfully, you can bring about change. Human rights and development go hand-in-hand.”

 

We congratulate Baroness Patricia Scotland once again on her new role as Commonwealth Secretary-General Designate!

 

Stay tuned on our official social media platforms and website www.chogm2015.mt for more updates from CHOGM Malta 2015.

26/11/2015 | 21:00 UTC

Malta Declaration on the Governance of Resilience

The Commonwealth People’s Forum held between the 23 and 26 November gathered more than 350 society organisations to discuss the central theme of ‘What Makes Societies Resilient?’

The results of these sessions, which were mostly focused on policies, perspectives, case studies and open sessions were summarised in an outcome document entitled ‘The Malta Declaration on the Governance of Resilience’.

Civil societies tackled the issue of how various players in the Commonwealth can play an important role in making communities more inclusive, equitable and resilient. Some of the main points raised include how the Commonwealth can build more resilient societies, security for all people of all diversities and transformative education for sustainable development.

For the first-time ever, LGBTQI issues were discussed at the Commonwealth People’s Forum and recommendations on this subject were included in the final outcome document to be presented to the various heads of states attending CHOGM Malta 2015. The document calls on Commonwealth leaders to take concrete action in preventing discrimination towards these people thus making societies more inclusive.

Climate resilience in small states is also addressed in this document. Investment in renewable energy and creating funds for sustainable and greener employment are both identified as solutions to this issue. A special session dedicated to climate action will also be organised in light of this issue on 27 November during the official heads of government meeting.

Migration was high on the agenda and is extensively dealt with.

Find the full outcome document here: http://bit.ly/1kVD5Fa  

26/11/2015 | 18:00 UTC

Youth present their recommendations in final outcome document

The Commonwealth Youth Forum, one of the four parallel fora of CHOGM Malta 2015, was tailored for young people from all over the Commonwealth to discuss issues relevant to them and make their voice heard at a Commonwealth level.

During the CYC General Assembly, youth delegates from 53 Commonwealth countries presented and voted on recommendations related to the discussions held on the four main agendas at the Commonwealth Youth Forum. These included the economic, social, environmental and political agendas. All these suggestions are compiled in an outcome document to be presented to the Heads of Government at CHOGM Malta 2015.

 

Universal access to information technology, youth entrepreneurship and inclusive labour policies all feature prominently on the economic agenda. Young people are mainly concerned with gaining the appropriate skills in order to access the labour market as well as creating a feasible action plan on certain economic matters affecting youth. Recommendations included having a consultation process with national youth bodies and increasing financial support for youth entrepreneurship.

 

 The environmental agenda focused on how Commonwealth youth can contribute to disaster-risk reduction, reducing the effects of climate change and increasing the use of renewable energy in a sustainable manner. The concept of holding governments accountable in achieving climate change commitments was thoroughly tackled during the 3-day parallel sessions held during the forum as well as the General Assembly. Young people should be engaged in the climate change debate and a recommendation for creating a specific hub where innovative ideas can be discussed was passed.

 

Considerations on access to quality education, non-formal educative structures and increased awareness on a wide variety of issues were dealt with in the social agenda. All youth present called upon the Commonwealth Youth Council to push forward youth involvement in coming up with strategic solutions on these pressing matters and ensure that they are consulted.

 

With Article 12 of the Commonwealth Charter specifically underlining the Commonwealth’s commitment on fighting gender inequality, the political agenda highlighted the importance of fighting gender-based violence including sexual abuse and FGM. The latter was also discussed during the first-ever Commonwealth Women’s Forum.

 

Follow the link to view the full CYF 2015 Outcome Document: http://bit.ly/1MWh2oK 

 

25/11/2015 | 09:46 UTC

Commonwealth Youth Council Executive announced

The Commonwealth Youth Forum, highlighted by intriguing discussions on various topics, will soon draw to a close. Yesterday’s General Assembly saw the outgoing Commonwealth Youth Council executive presenting their reports and national youth delegates from 53 different Commonwealth countries voted for their representatives for the upcoming two years.

First established in 2013, the CYC is the official representative voice of more than 1.2 billion young people in the Commonwealth. It acts as a coalition of national youth councils and other youth-led civil society and private sector bodies across all the countries of the Commonwealth. 

After all the candidates presented their vision for a more youth-centred Commonwealth during the election primaries, results are as follows: 

Chairperson – Kishva Ambigapathy from Malaysia

Vice Chairperson, Policy, Advocacy and Projects – Nikoli Jean-Paul Edwards from Trinidad and Tobago

Vice Chairperson, Partnerships and Resources – Faith Manthi from Kenya       

Vice Chairperson, Inclusion and Engagement - Angelique Pouponneau from The Seychelles

Regional Representative, Africa and Europe – Sharonice Davinnia Busch from Namibia         

Regional Representative, Asia – Pravin Nikam from India

Regional Representative, Caribbean and the Americas – Sujae Boswell from Jamaica 

Regional Representative, Pacific – Christina Giwe from Papua New Guinea          

Representative, Special Interest Groups – David Aoneaka Rupa from Papua New Guinea

 

Congratulations to all those elected and we hope that you have a successful tenure!

24/11/2015 | 19:38 UTC

First Inaugural Women's Forum comes to an end

The first ever CHOGM Women's Forum has come to an end with many of the 400 plus participants thanking Malta for taking the initiative to hold the event. 

After two days of lively debate a number of conclusions were reached. One of the first calls was for the Women's Forum to be made a permanent feature of Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings. 

The Forum called for strategies to deal with gender based violence, including programmes for educating men about valuing women.  

Member states are being asked to develop strategies to increase representation of women in all spheres, including enterprise, politics and the judiciary. There was a desire for equal reputation in parliaments and on company boards. 

 

The Forum ended with a call for the Commonwealth to establish a working group of experts to help further women's empowerment.

24/11/2015 | 19:30 UTC

Day Two at The Commonwealth People’s Forum

The second day of The Commonwealth People’s Forum featured a number of sessions around the forum’s theme of ‘What makes societies resilient?’. Owing to the vast range of topics that needed to be covered, delegates were split into different groups for more intimate discussions.

The morning got off to a very captivating start with the powerful and personal stories that were shared.  Three parallel sessions were carried out discussing small states policy dialogue, perspectives on women, agency and responsive governance as well as views on cultural responses to conflict. 

The People’s Forum today also marked a moment in history for it was the first time for LGBTIQ policies to be put on the agenda and debated at length. Thoughts continued to be provoked with the panel discussions that ran on featuring perspectives on small states and those on migration and resilience. These topics hit home for some of the delegates in the audience who were keen to share their insights. 

The afternoon then involved a thorough plenary session on equity and resilience which was open to all the delegates. Here, panel speakers brought forth gripping stories which highlighted the importance of having critical resources and services available for all.  This panel featured Shaun Grech, Jill Iliffe, Gisele Yasmeen and Khamati Mugalla with Ranja Sengupta as moderator. 

Following this session, delegates formed smaller working groups to discuss small state cases, perspectives on going ‘glocal’ and perspectives on food challenges. 

The day was rounded up with a film screening of Simshar, a 2014 movie, featuring a Maltese family who are stranded in the Mediterranean Sea and are mistaken for migrants. This film served as the perfect closing to the powerful discussions that were held throughout the day. 

 

24/11/2015 | 15:00 UTC

Business and Government leaders gather in Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The 10th Commonwealth Business Forum opened this morning as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), bringing together 1300 business leaders from 75 countries with Heads of Government, Ministers and senior officials from the 53 Commonwealth countries and beyond with the theme “Creating a more prosperous Commonwealth.”

Hon Dr Joseph Muscat MP, Prime Minister of Malta opened the Forum. The Forum has been organised by the Government of Malta, CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. 

Those speaking at the Forum will include HRH The Prince of Wales, HE Akinwumi Ambode, Executive Governor of Lagos States, Rt Hon Lord Maude, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment, The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Lord Mountevans and Paul Manduca, Chairman of Prudential. 

Building on the overall CHOGM theme of “Adding Global Value” the Forum will focus on six pan-Commonwealth themes: financial services, technology, infrastructure, healthcare, tourism and sustainability. The Forum will help identify opportunities where the Commonwealth can add value, helping to develop the six themes into ongoing programmes led by the Enterprise and Investment Council. 

In research to be launched by the Commonwealth Secretariat during CHOGM, annual intra-Commonwealth trade is currently shown to be US$592 billion which is projected to increase to US$1 trillion by 2020 and US$2.75 trillion by 2030. 

The Prime Minister of Malta, said “I firmly believe strengthening trade and investment is a key area where the Commonwealth can add value. The Commonwealth can be a powerful voice in international trade negotiations, and in creating an equitable and sustainable environment for businesses from all parts of the Commonwealth to flourish in domestic, regional and global markets.”

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council said “The Business Forum continues to be a growing part of CHOGM, the number of businesses attending continues to grow and has doubled since Malta hosted the Forum for the first time in 2005. Trade, investment and private sector led development are of vital importance to all our countries and we are determined to deliver on the potential of the Commonwealth. It is vital for the future of the Commonwealth that we ensure talk is translated into action.” 

Five new initiatives to strengthen Commonwealth trade and investment will be announced during the Forum: 

· Commonwealth Green Finance Facility – to help fund sustainable infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth with a focus on island countries. 

· CommonwealthFirst – a programme to encourage SMEs to leverage the Commonwealth network, with its inbuilt 19% trade cost advantage, when starting their export journey. 

· The Commonwealth Trade Initiative – an online platform to connect businesses across the Commonwealth and facilitate greater intra-Commonwealth trade and investment. 

· Commonwealth Healthcare Business Group – which will bring together complementary public, private and third sector expertise to help facilitate the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Governments in improving health provision and outcomes. 

· The Global Goals Commonwealth Sustainable Business Challenge - The Challenge aims to encourage all companies across the Commonwealth and beyond to consider how they can engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they build them into their strategy and the way they do business. 

The Forum will also be an opportunity for doing business, with more than 250 pre-arranged meetings between business leaders and 17 country or regional focused investment sessions, meaning that many business deals will take place or be originated during the Forum. 

An interim statement to Heads of Government will be issued following the concluding address by HRH The Prince of Wales at the Forum on the afternoon of 26th November.

 

24/11/2015 | 07:00 UTC

Commonwealth civil society meets to debate ‘What makes societies resilient?’

The Commonwealth People’s Forum 2015 (CPF), the largest gathering of civil societies pan Commonwealth was launched this morning in Malta, under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Mr Kamalesh Sharma and the Prime Minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat.

Vandana Shiva opened the CPF 2015 with a stirring call of “resilience is life”, urging delegates to embrace resilience as a means for the world to break out of vicious cycles of violence and competition. Dr Shiva also spoke on the need for humility and internal reflection as we ponder some of the challenges facing the global community today. Encouragement for constructive debate in the Forum was opened, with Dr Shiva posing the question of “whether resilience leads to transforming imbalances of power, or acts as a cover for maintaining the status quo?”

Commenting on the speech, the director of the Commonwealth Foundation, the main organiser of the People’s Forum, Vijay Krishnarayan, said “Dr Shiva reminded us that resilience is an ageless discourse. We need to understand systems related to resilience and consequences of our actions, but we also accept with all humility our agency”.

Discussions with more than 400 plus registered members of civil society from across 39 commonwealth countries  will focus on the nexus of resilience with governance and societal development. According to Krishnarayan, “Resilience is often just thought about withstanding stress and natural catastrophe. Yet we at the foundation feel that it is much more than that. It is a function of existing political, social, economic and cultural institutional structures. This is what we want to unpack over the next few days using the People’s forum”. Sessions will explore resilience from different perspectives including looking at urbanisation; small states and using cultures as a lens.

Commenting earlier on in the welcome session, the chair of the CPF subcommittee Mrs Jacqueline Micallef Grimaud spoke of the valuable space the forum offered for unheard voices from the Commonwealth being able to be heard at a policy level whilst building consensus. “CPF2015 would like to break the silence by rallying and listening to the voices of commonwealth citizens but more importantly by generating ideas and messages on governance for resilience”.

The People’s Forum in Malta will also be pioneering real time policy dialogues with decision makers as well as interactions with parliamentarians from the host country.  The Forum will end with specific proposals for civil society engagement with Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers and initiatives for the Government of Malta as incoming Commonwealth Chair-in-Office to take forward.

23/11/2015 | 08:02 UTC

Inauguration of the First Ever Commonwealth Women's Forum

The Commonwealth Women’s Forum kicked off Sunday night with an inauguration ceremony held under the patronage of H.E. The President of Malta, Mrs Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Hon. Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat and Mrs Michelle Muscat and Commonwealth Secretary General Mr Kamalesh Sharma.

In his opening remarks, Mr Sharma remarked that the roadmap ahead is “Women Ahead: Be all that you can be”, reflecting on the chosen theme for this forum. He noted the importance of discussing gender equality at this point in time when it is imperative that human rights become all women’s rights too.    Hon. Dr Muscat thanked the support received from Commonwealth Secretary General when the proposal to hold this forum was made, noting that Malta was determined to make the Commonwealth more relevant and how better to do that than by recognizing the 1 billion women contributing to it.  He expressed his satisfaction at being at the start of a new experience such as the Commonwealth Women’s Forum.

 

While joining Mr Sharma and Dr Muscat in their well wishes for a fruitful and challenging discussion, H.E.  Mrs Coleiro-Preca enjoined those present to make the most of this opportunity.  Referencing the #HeforShe campaign, H.E. Mrs Coleiro Preca expressed her confidence that the women’s forum will highlight the lived experiences of women today and that it will serve as a catalyst to further address women’s issues.

 

Delegates and guests attending the inauguration ceremony were treated to a lively multi-disciplinary  performance which highlighted the Forum’s theme in a creative and interactive manner.  The ceremony included Mro Paul Abela’s band, singers Mary Rose Mallia, Dorothy Bezzina and Chloe Portelli and Stagecoach Choir.

 

 

The Commonwealth Women’s Forum is being organized for the first time ahead of the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, following Malta’s proposal to give added attention to Women’s issues across the Commonwealth.  The forum is being held in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat Gender Section and foresees two full days of discussions on topics which relate primarily to women and their empowerment across various walks of life.  Discussions will proceed on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November and may be followed on chogm2015.mt and CHOGM social media.

22/11/2015 | 12:55 UTC

10th Commonwealth Youth Forum Kicks off

Today, 21 November 2015, Prime Minister of Malta Hon. Dr. Joseph Muscat and Secretary General of the Commonwealth HE Kamalesh Sharma presided over the official opening of the 10th Commonwealth Youth Forum where each spoke of the different realities that surround both issues and opportunities that the youth are facing at this day and age.

The opening ceremony started out with a live performance by Etnika, followed by a welcome from Andrew Micallef, President of Malta’s National Youth Council who spoke about the importance of youth's opinions in this day and age.

 

Pan-Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year, Victor Ochen spoke about how youth have the ability to bring identity to humanity and stressed the importance of “working together as a nation and building a vision on peace and justice under the umbrella of the Commonwealth.” Gulalai Ismail, Commonwealth Youth Award Winner, also emphasized the importance of youth empowerment and the ability of young people to influence the nation’s agenda.

 

Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth Deodat Maharaj spoke about the forum’s theme 'Adding Global Value… #WhatNext?' and discussed the recognition of youth across the Commonwealth and worldwide.

 

Ahmed Adamu, chair of the Commonwealth Youth Council, commented that this forum is historic since youth will be giving feedback to the head of government, who will be attending CHOGM Malta 2015 happening between 27 and 29 November.

 

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma discussed how CYF 2015 and youth will bring energy and ambition to the process. This forum represents a new development process through which youth insight will promote tolerance and acceptance.

 

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat encouraged all youth present at the opening to be ambitious and come up with inspiring ideas, no matter how radical they might be. Young people have a strong voice and have the ability to make a huge difference not only in the Commonwealth but worldwide.  

 

 

CYF 2015 will be taking place between the 21 and the 25 of November at DB San Antonio Hotel. The new CYC executive will be elected in the coming days and the #WhatNext Action plan to be presented to the heads of government during CHOGM Malta 2015 will also be finalized.

20/11/2015 | 18:50 UTC

EkoSkola - CHOGM Young Citizens’ Summit

Promoting well being across the Commonwealth for present and future generations

This event was organised by Nature Trust Malta in collaboration with CHOGM taskforce, the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and the Office of the Prime Minister.

During the EkoSkola - CHOGM Young Citizens’ Summit, bringing together 280 students from 35 schools around Malta & Gozo, children discussed and came up with solutions to support wellbeing, with final recommendations presented in a declaration and read out by the Prime Minister of Malta, Hon. Dr. Joseph Muscat. This declaration will also be read in one of the official sittings of CHOGM. 

 

We the children of the Commonwealth countries would like you to consider the following: 

• There are over 600 million children in the Commonwealth; 30% of the Commonwealth population. 

• Every single one of us, whatever our age or ability, is capable of expressing our ideas, imaginations, needs and worries.  

• Listening to us children is extremely important. No voice is too young to be ignored.

• There are many decisions that you take which affect our lives, and we need to tell you about them. We want to be able to influence our future.

• Listening to us is a promise that all of you made, when each of your countries approved the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Keeping this promise is very important.

• Treat us with dignity and honesty, don’t just listen to us but act on our suggestions.

 

The Environment

• Environment is the source of life, and the space in which we live. 

• Our quality of life depends on the quality of our environment. 

• We want to live in peace. Do your best to stop wars. Wars destroy lives, families, their homes and the environment. Transfer military funding towards promoting education and eradicating poverty.

• In your decisions protect and respect life in all its forms.

• Do not just talk about protecting the environment, but commit yourself to action 

• Many of you used to play in green open spaces when you were children, but many of us are not so lucky. These healthy open spaces continue to shrink. 

• We are here on behalf of all children, both present and future generations, to reclaim the environment that is also ours, and is so important to our wellbeing.

Diversity and Inclusion

• No one should ever be excluded from any activity because of their social class, ability, race, gender, sexuality, ethnic origin, religion, or culture. 

• We need space to grow, to be ourselves, and to embrace our diversity. Our differences are part of what make us beautiful and unique. 

• Look at the way we play and live together in our schools. We get along fine. We don’t mind our differences. Can’t you do the same?

• Although we might have differences we are equally humans. Strength lies in differences not just in similarities.

• We speak with different tongues, but we all smile with the same language.

• We need to create an environment when everyone feels included, where we can truly be ourselves, where our differences are valued, and where everyone’s contribution is respected. 

• Poverty and lack of education create barriers. Access and opportunity is a right … not a privilege. Do your best to eradicate poverty and provide education for all … especially women and persons with disability.

• No country should be so poor not to have access to medicine and medical treatment and research.

• Listen to the cry of the poor and provide for their basic needs (e.g. clean water, food, security, medication).

• Provide jobs that respect the dignity of workers and ensure a just pay.

 

Antibullying

• Bullying can happen in many different ways (e.g. cyber-bullying, domestic, verbal, physical, etc.) , and it is not always visible.  

• Take action to stop people and companies that bully other people and nations on the availability of resources they need to live a good quality of life (e.g. water, food, energy)

• Bullying is never ok, and adults need to take it seriously. 

• Do not take short cuts by telling children that the bullying will stop if it is ignored. 

• Every day, children like us are bullied into silence, and are afraid to speak up. 

• Other children are at risk of becoming bullies themselves, because they have a lot of pain inside which is being ignored. 

• We want to be involved in real conversations, so that we can come up with real solutions together, which will help us get rid of bullying.

 


18/11/2015 | 10:27 UTC

Traffic Arrangements for CHOGM Malta 2015

The CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce would like to bring the public’s attention to the following Police Notice in respect of traffic arrangements for the duration of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held between 27 and 29 November 2015. The information is correct to date of publication. The public is invited to keep following this website and our social media for any updates on these traffic arrangements.

POLICE NOTICE

The Commissioner of Police hereby notifies that in terms of Legal Notice 101/97, the street listed hereunder are to be classified as tow zones on the date and time indicated in view of any encumbrance

 

COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING 

 

Thursday 26th November 2015 up to Saturday 28th November 2015 

Luqa

Malta International Airport, Hal Far Road, Aviation Road, Zurrieq Road, Council of Europe Road, Garibaldi Road

Marsa

Aldo Moro Road, December 13th Road, National Road Blata L- Bajda 

Floriana

 

Thursday 26th. November 2015 as from 5.00am till Friday 27th. November 2015 at midnight:

Floriana

St. Anne Street between the War memorial and Robert Sammut Square (both sides), St Francis Street between War Memorial  and Manoel de Vilhena Street, Manoel de Vilhena Street between St Francis Street and Cappuchini street, J. Lopez Street between St Anne Street and St Francis Street, Crucifix Hill between Cappuchini Street and Lascaris Wharf, Lascaris Wharf between Pinto Road and Ta’ Liesse Hill, the road below Crucifix Hill leading to MCP car park.

Valletta

East Street between St Christopher Street and St Nicholas Street, Mediterranean Street between St Nicholas Street and St Elmo Granaries, Evans Square, St Elmo Granaries between Republic Street and Merchant Street, North Street between Merchant street and evans square, Merchant Street between St Elmo Granaries and Old Hospital Street, Old Hospital Street between St Paul Street and Merchant Street, off road between Old Hospital Street and North Street, St Paul Street between St Dominic Street and Old Hospital Street, St Ursola Street between St Nicholas Street and Old Wells Street, St Sebastian Street between Spurs Street and Marsamxetto Road near Gun Post, marsamxetto Road between Guin Post and Great Siege Road (including parking on both sides), Great Siege Road between Marsamxetto Road and War Memorial, Barriera Wharf between Ta’ Liesse Hill and Mediterranean Conference Centre.

 

Clearance of parking on Thursday 26th. November 2015 from 5.00am till midnight:

Valletta

St Paul street between Castille Square and Melita Street, first four parking slots in St Paul Street before turning into Archbishop Street, Archbishop Street between St Paul Street and Old Bakery Street, the four parking slots in Old Bakery Street before turning into St Christopher Street, St Christopher Street between Old Bakery Street and St Paul Street, Market Suare in Merchant Street, Merchants Street between Old Theatre Street and St Christopher Street, republic Street between Archbishop Street and St Dominic Street.

Mriehel Attard

Mriehel by Pass, Notabile Road, De Paule Avenue, San Anton Palace and all outside perimiters

 

Friday 27th November 2015 

Attard

San Anton Palace and all outside perimeters, De Paule Avenue, Notabile Road Attard

Mriehel- Marsa

Mriehel by Pass towards Marsa u sa triq Notabile, 13th December Road, National Road, Blata l-Bajda, Hamrun Street / Marsa Bypass

Floriana- Valletta

Portes-des-Bombes, St Anne Street, Floriana, War Memorial, St Francis Street, Crucifix Hill, Lascaris Wharf, Barriera Wharf, Mediterranean Street, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Great Siege Road, St. Sebastian Street, West Street, Independence Square, Angelican Cathedral , Old Theatre Street, Republic Street up to St’ Elmo 

Qormi

Dawn Street, Mdina Road

 

Friday 27th November 2015 to Sunday 29th November 2015

Luqa

Malta International Airport, Hal- Far road, Aviation Avenue, Zurrieq Road, St. Thomas street Qormi road

Qormi - Zebbug 

Mdina road (towards Zebbug), Mdina road to Zebbug, Mdina road (to Mtarfa roundabout )

Mosta

Mosta road to Targa Gap, Mosta road to Mgarr, Sir. Temi Zammit street Zebbiegh

Ghajn Tuffieha- St Pauls Bay 

Golden Bay road, Nahhlija street, Golden Sand Hotel and its parameters, St. Paul’s By Pass, Salini coast Road 

Pembroke

St. Andrew’s road, Sun Yet-Sen Tunnels

Msida

M.A. Vassalli street to Msida, Msida Sea front, Main street, Indipendence Avenue

Floriana- Valletta

Portes De Bombes, St. Anne’s street, Great Siege road, Marsamxetto road, St. Sebastian road, St. Elmo’s square, Mediterranean Conference Centre

 

From the Mediterranean Conference Valletta, to Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Bay

Medterranean Conference Centre Valletta, St. Elmo’s Square, St. Sebastian road, Marsamxetto road, Great Siege road, St. Anne street, Portes De Bombes, Independence Avenue, Marina street, Msida Seafront, Msida Square, M.A Vassalli street to University roundabout, M. A Vassalli road, Regional road, Sun Yet-Sen tunnels, St. Andrews road, Salina road, St. Pauls Bay by pass, Golden Bay road, Nahhlija street, Golden Sands hotel, Golden Sands

 

From Radisson Golden Bay Hotel, to the Eden Arena St. Julians

Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay, Nahhlija street, Golden Bay road, St. Paul’s Bay by pass, Wileg street towards Salina road, Salina road, St. Andrew’s road, Mediterranean street, M. A. Vassallo street, Gort street, Swieqi road, St. Augustine street, Dragonara road towards Eden Arena, Eden Arena St. Julians

 

From Eden Arena St. Julians, to Radisson Golden Sands hotel Golden Bay

Eden Arena St. Julians, St. Augustine street, Swieqi rd to St. Andrews street, Coast road, Salini road, Kennedy Drive, St. Paul by pass, Roundabout towards Golden Sands, Golden Bay road, Nahhlija street, Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay

 

From Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Bay, to Fort St. Angelo Vittoriosa

Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay, Nahhlija street, Golden Bay road, Sir. Temi Zammit street, Buqana street, Saqqajja road towards Attard, Mdina road, Mriehel by- pass, Cross road Marsa, Aldo Moro road, Labour Avenue, Sir. Paul Boffa Avenue, Corradino road, Ghajn Dwieli road towards Gavino Gulia Square, Cospicua Quay down to Fredom Monument, Xatt il- Forn, Fort St. Angelo

 

Fort St. Angelo Vittoriosa, to Radisson Golden Sands Hotel Golden Sands

Fort St. Angelo, Xatt il- Forn, Freedom Monument, St. Lawrence street, Cospicua Quay, Coronation street, Immaculate Conception street, St. Nicholas San Gwann t’Ghuxa, Ghajn Dwieli road, Corradino road, Sir. Paul Boffa Avenue, Marsa lights, Aldo Moro road, Mriehel by-pass, Mdina road, Towards Saqqajja road into Buqana road, Sir. Temi Zammit street, Golden Bay road, Nahhalija road, Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay

 

From Radisson Golden Sands, Golden Sands, to Hagar Qim

Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay, Nahhlija street, Golden Bay road, Sir. Temi Zammit street, Buqana street, Infetti street to Racecourse street, Virtu road, Roundabout to Dikkiena street towards Lapsi, Hagar Qim

 

From Hagar Qim to Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Bay

Hagar Qim, Hagar Qim road, Blue Grotto Avenue, Zurrieq road towards Kirkop, Kirkop Tunnel, Zurrieq road, St. Thomas street, Qormi road, Mdina road towards Zebbug, Mdina road to Zebbug, Mdina road to Mtarfa roundabout, Mosta road to Targa Gap, Mosta road to Mgarr, Sir Temi Zammit road Zebbiegh, Golden Bay road, Nahhlija street, Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Bay

 

From Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Sands, to Malta International Airport

Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay, Nahhlija street, Golden Bay road, Sir. Temi Zammit street, Buqana street, Mdina road towards Zebbug, Mdina road, Roundabout to Luqa road, St. Thomas street, Zurrieq road, Aviation road, Hal-Far road, Malta International Airport (VIP)

 

From Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Bay, to the Palace, Valletta

(Tentative- Queen’s Dinner)

Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay, Nahhlija street, Golden Bay road, St. Paul’s Bay by-pass, Salina road, St. Andrew’s road, Sun Yet-Sen Tunnels, M. A. Vassalli street, Msida Seafront, Triq il-Kbira, Independence Avenue, Portes Des Bombes, St. Anne street, War Memorial, Lord Nelson street, City Gate, Republic street, The Palace Valletta

 

From the Palace, Valletta, to the Radisson Golden Sands Hotel, Golden Bay

 

The Palace, Republic street, City Gate, Lord Nelson street, War Memorial, St. Anne street, Portes Des Bombes, Independence Avenue, Marina street, Msida Sea front, Msida Square, M.A Vassalli street to University roundabout, M. A Vassalli road, Regional road, Sun Yet-Sen tunnels, St. Andrew’s road, Salina road, St. Paul’s by pass, Golden Bay road, Nahhalija street, Hotel Golden Sands Golden Bay

 

Any vehicles found parked in contravention to the order of this notice are liable to be towed away.

 

Attard

De Paul Avenue Balzan ( Main entrance of Corinthia Hotel and also San Anton President’s Palace, of Triq B’Kara, Attard (being to RHS of Corinthia Hotel entry/exit), Railway road Attard, Lord Strickland road adjacent with San Anton Palace, St Anthony Street Attard,  from Lord Strickland Street to G. Portelli Street up to the Kitchen Garden and behind San Anton Palace

 

Saturday 28th November 2015

Attard

San Anton Palace and its perimeters, De Paule Avenue, Notabile Road

Mriehel - Marsa

New By-Pass to Marsa Cross Road, Aldo Moro Road

Paola

Labour Road, Sir Paul Boffa Avenue Paola, Corradino Hill Road

Cospicua

Ghajn Dwieli Road to Tunnel, St. Francis street, Cospicua Road, Gavino Gulia Square, Cospicua sea Front, Santa Tereza Street Cospicua, Café Rich Roundabout to Kalkara, Kalkara Sea Front, Marina Street Kalkara, Ta’ Bighi Kalkara, Marina Street Cospicua, St Edward Street, Coronation Street, Cospicua Marina, Immaculate Conception Street, St Nicholas Street, San Gwann T’Ghuxa, Three Cities Street, Ghajn Dwieli Road, Cordina Road

Paola

Sir Paul Boffa Avenue, Industry Street

Marsa

Aldo Moro Road, 13th December Road, Hamrun By Pass

Qormi- Marsa

Qormi road, Lowenbrau Round About, Racecourse Street, Marsa Park and Ride, Marsa Race Course, Marsa Golf Course, Racecourse street, Aldo Moro Road, Marsa cross roads Roundabout

Valletta

Lascaris Wharf, Pinto Wharf, Xatt l-Ghassara, Slabs Quay 

Luqa 

Labour Avenue, Garibaldi Road, Council of Europe Road, Aviation Avenue, Hal Far Road, Entry to Malta International Airport

 

In virtue of Article 52 ( 1 ) of the Traffic Regulations Ordinance ( Cap. 65 ), the Commissioner of Police hereby notifies that the transit of vehicles through the streets mentioned hereunder will be suspended up to the dates and times indicated

 

Road closures on Thursday 26th. November 2015 between 1.00pm and 4.30pm:

 

Valletta

Archbishop Street corner with St Paul Street, St Christopher Street corner with Merchants Street, St Christopher Street corner with Old Bakery Street.

 

Road closures on Friday 27th. November 2015 between 5.00am and midnight:

Valletta

Lascaris Wharf corner with Crucifix Hill, Barriera Wharf corner with Ta’ Liesse Hill, Mediterranean Street corner with St Nicholas Street, East Street corner St Christopher Street, St Christopher Street corner with West Street,St paul Street corner with St Dominic Street, St Dominic Street corner with East Street, St Ursola Street corner with St Nicholas Street, St paul Street corner with St Nicholas Street, Merchants Street corner with Old Hospital street, Merchants street corner with North Street, republic Street corner with Spurs Street, St Sebastian Street corner with Republic Street, st Sebastian Street corner with Spurs Street, St Sebastian Street corner with Old Bakery Street, St Sebastian Street corner with West Street.

 

On Friday 27th. November 2015, the Lower Barrakka Gardens will be closed for the public all day.

 

Clearance of parking on Saturday 28th. November 2015 between 5,.00am and 1.00pm.

 

Valletta

Lascaris Wharf between Pinto Road and Ta’ Liesse Hill.

 

Road closure on Saturday 28th. November 2015 between 10.00am and 1.00pm:

 

Valletta

Lascaris Wharf between Pinto Road and Ta’ Liesse Hill.

 

17/11/2015 | 21:00 UTC

CHOGM Malta 2015...finally here!

With CHOGM fast approaching, finishing touches are being laid. We are delighted by a significant number of accreditations and positive feedback from all those involved far and wide.

The figures are impressive. Coming to the island are 5,000 delegates and 1,000 journalists. They will be supported by 500 volunteers in 10 of the chosen venues.  

Anticipation was instilled when Malta hosted the Valletta summit on Migration last week on the 11th and 12th of November. 

This event saw the use of some of the 78 luxury vehicles provided by Volvo for these two special occasions. An announcement was made that these vehicles shall be auctioned off on Saturday 5th December with all proceeds going to L-Istrina 2015 – The Malta Community Chest Fund. 

As one of the most anticipated events of the CHOGM, this newsletter shines the light on the official opening ceremony, taking place on the 27th November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. This ceremony will be transmitted globally via CHOGM Malta 2015 and is expected to be an emotionally engaging, multi-media performance that will reflect the commonalities of Commonwealth nations and highlight the CHOGM theme of ‘Adding Global Value’. 

We also had the pleasure of interviewing His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, the Commonwealth Secretary General. This being his last tenure in this position, he speaks of his expectations for this year’s CHOGM and portrays confidence in the Commonwealth acting as an admirable global leader, equipped to back the global development agenda. He hopes that the commitment and diligence with which he led his position will be recognised as such – we are confident it will. 

An overview of the programme of events for the state visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in conjunction with the CHOGM, is available in the Events section of this newsletter. It also features details of the separate engagements planned for the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

 

We hope those travelling to Malta for the events will have a safe journey and we invite all those who cannot be physically present to stay updated via CHOGM Malta 2015. 

 

We look forward to welcoming you all here!

 

17/11/2015 | 07:30 UTC

CHOGM Malta 2015 - Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony is one of the most anticipated events at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.

The show in Malta this year promises to be an emotionally engaging performance. It includes   drama, dance, music, 3D animations and projections on a 40 metre wide screen. The performance will reflect the commonalities of Commonwealth nations and highlight the CHOGM theme – ‘Adding Global Value’. 

The show promises to be diverse and thrilling; a troupe of more than 360 performers has been engaged -- children, singers, musicians, dancers and acrobats, designers, craftsmen, and two aerialists from the UK. Filmographers, 3D animators, artisans and choreographers have all played important roles in creating the multimedia show.

In a joint collaboration, Mr. Ivan Grech, Mro. Karl Fiorini and Mro. Mario Sammut have composed music exclusively for this occasion. An original piece will be performed by guitarist Simon Schembri to accompany a one-of-a-kind performance by Żfin Malta. Members of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra have also collaborated. 

In addition, the opening ceremony will include a performance by internationally acclaimed tenor Joseph Calleja, accompanied by Alison Ellul’s children choir, while tenor Nico Darmanin will take to the stage during repeat performances.  Other singers include Matthew James Borg, Errol Sammut, Amber and Jasmine, as well as the Animae Choir who featured in ‘The People We Are’ CHOGM Malta 2015 official song and video. The ceremony includes designs from the globally acclaimed lighting designer Patrick Woodruffe and his team. 

The team behind this production includes Ray Calleja as Artistic Director, Alison White as Head Choreographer, Justin Brincat as Make-up Designer and Artist, and Marygrace Pisani as Costume Designer.  The costumes have been produced at Corradino Correctional Facility in collaboration with the Love Faith Forgiveness Project while some costume designs were carried out by MCAST students as part of their educational curriculum under the guidance of tutors Sef Farrugia and Anna Ancilleri. The students were also encouraged to continue these designs even after CHOGM Malta 2015 and given a certificate of participation as compensation for their stellar work. 

The production of these designs in conjunction with their actual performance was entrusted to Masquerade Malta and the actual costume production to Loui Noir. Ingrid Desira Buttigieg, Douglas Comely, Dorian Mallia, Felix Busuttil and Mavin Khoo, Serenity Performers and Maltese Motion were also engaged to choreograph different parts of the performance. MCAST students and their tutors will be responsible for all the dynamic hair styles required for the performance. MCAST will benefit   post-performance as all costumes, props and designs are being donated to the institute for educational purposes. 

Taking place on the 27th of November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, the ceremony will also be transmitted globally via https://chogm2015.mt/. Extra live performances in Malta will also be open to the public on the 27th and 28th of November against a €15 entrance fee, with proceeds going to the Malta Community Chest Fund. Tickets may be purchased from the MCC booking office.

16/11/2015 | 12:36 UTC

CHOGM Interviews: H.E. Kamalesh Sharma

H.E. Kamalesh Sharma is the Commonwealth Secretary General

What are your expectations for CHOGM Malta 2015?

Each CHOGM has a distinctive character and makes its own special contribution to advancing Commonwealth cooperation and collective action by the governments and people of our member states to build resilience, and to advance social and economic progress. We approach CHOGM 2015 in Malta with high expectations, and I am very much looking forward to receiving Commonwealth leaders from around the world in Valetta next month. I anticipate the CHOGM theme, ‘Adding Global Value’, will generate fruitful discussion and agreement on pragmatic steps the Commonwealth can take in being an exemplary global leader in supporting the global development agenda.

CHOGM is taking place during a critical year when the world determines the path forward on significant global issues, particularly development and climate change. CHOGM will be an opportunity for leaders to discuss and highlight issues of particular concern to the Commonwealth in these matters.

We expect to officially launch several new initiatives during CHOGM, particularly to assist small states’ development capacity. The Climate Change Finance Hub, for example, will be an online tool for knowledge exchange as well as best practice information sharing and collaboration.

More than half of Commonwealth countries are small island states who most keenly feel the impact of climate change — their very future may depend on the ability to tap into the ocean economy. Malta’s position as a small island state makes it the ideal setting for a discussion on the opportunities of the blue economy and a shared sustainable future.

The Commonwealth Youth Forum will be a time to reflect on the 2015 theme, ‘A Young Commonwealth’, and recognise young people’s significant impact and valuable contribution as agents of change in their communities. 

The Commonwealth’s commitment to diversity and equality is manifest in its commitment to facilitate opportunities for diverse groups to have their voices and needs heard. This year, for the first time, the Commonwealth will be hosting a Women’s Forum in the wings of CHOGM.

And of course—on the first day of CHOGM, on 27 November—the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General will be chosen by heads of government.

The Malta CHOGM 2015 will be your last one as Secretary-General, how do you look back at your tenure in the position?

Serving two terms as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth has been an enormous privilege and honour. I look back on my tenure with many wonderful memories of my interactions in public life and also with staff of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

During my time as Secretary-General, I have been tremendously fortunate to have visited every Commonwealth country, meeting our collective family and citizens from all around the world. 

I firmly believe there is no other association like the Commonwealth — our diversity is manifest in our 53 independent and equal sovereign states, home to more than 2.2 billion citizens, with every member country of the Commonwealth having an equal voice and equal representation. 

A personal and professional highlight for me was seeing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth sign the Commonwealth Charter in 2013. The Charter brings together the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth —including democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is our collective spirit and a defining document for an inclusive and accountable Commonwealth.

A clear and objective measure of the way in which the Commonwealth adds global value can be seen in various highly regarded regional assessments in which Commonwealth member states have been consistently given high rankings on good governance and other measures, true to their membership of the Commonwealth as a values-based organisation.

We must never forget that the essence of Commonwealth values is about improving and enhancing the lived experiences of its people. The Commonwealth is committed to being bold about reinforcing its values and supporting sustainable development goals. Recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, and other Commonwealth Ministerial gatherings, have actively contributed fresh perspectives and wisdom to international discussions and towards finding innovative solutions on matters relating to food, security, digital technology, youth enterprise, small states and the environment.

The Commonwealth has always maintained that global outcomes must be inclusive, equitable and embrace all human communities, irrespective of size and endowment. We have been in the forefront of global advocacy on behalf of small states, and raising awareness and practical approaches to meet their distinctive needs. 

I hope my term will be seen as one of commitment, pragmatism, diligence and ambition in advancing the wellbeing of our Commonwealth family and the Commonwealth as a great global good.

How has the Commonwealth changed during your tenure as Secretary General?

The Commonwealth’s value has always been its commitment to development, democracy, and diversity, and its capacity to reform and adapt in response to the changing circumstances and needs of its members.

The Commonwealth is special in its work as a champion for young people and small states, empowering them to participate in decision-making processes. Global leaders are increasingly aware we must partner with young people in realising our shared future. As young people will be the ones living with the decisions made today, they should help shape them. The Commonwealth now has robust youth networks—including the Commonwealth Youth Council, the Commonwealth Alliance for Young Entrepreneurs, the Commonwealth Students Association and the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network — offering new platforms for collaboration to ensure that the voice of young people is heard on the international stage.

The Commonwealth has also cultivated strategic partnerships beyond the Commonwealth and has continued to advance the Commonwealth voice on issues of global significance. The Commonwealth’s strong relationship with the G20 in association with La Francophonie has brought valuable new opportunities for the Commonwealth to convey the concerns of its members not represented around the G20 table—particularly those of the smaller and more vulnerable states.

The Commonwealth’s advocacy work has helped increase international awareness of the challenges small states face and the solutions needed.

ITC innovation has revolutionised the way the Commonwealth communicates through online platforms and ‘hubs’, allowing countries and governments to exchange information, learn from each other and share experiences in education, health and economic sectors.

Our Commonwealth vision and set of values are set out with fresh clarity in the Commonwealth Charter, which was adopted by all member states in 2012 and heralds a new era in shaping our shared future.

We are particularly fortunate to have a strong family of organisations actively committed to advancing the goals and values of the Commonwealth, and to connecting the people and institutions of our member states in multiple ways and to mutual benefit. Through their programmes and initiatives, civil society organisations have helped strengthen some of the most fundamental rights and freedoms necessary to build stronger and better democratic societies.

What is your vision of the Commonwealth beyond CHOGM?

The world is moving into a new period of international development and multilateral cooperation.

The Commonwealth, through harnessing its young, its values of democracy and diversity, and a deep commitment to development, will continue to remain relevant well into the future and improving the lives of all its Commonwealth citizens.

The Commonwealth, home to a third of the world’s people, is a modern and bespoke organisation, which realises that in serving its member states, there is also a parallel duty in working for the global good — we are, after all, global citizens.

The way forward for the international community, including the Commonwealth, will be challenging yet rewarding. More than ever the Commonwealth needs to continue to be an advocate for the needs of those who may not have a voice on the international stage.

The partnerships and relationships the Commonwealth has fostered over the years, with international and civil society organisations, will put the Commonwealth in good stead in contributing to a world that is equal, just and stable for future generations.

 

 

09/11/2015 | 10:40 UTC

78 Luxury vehicles used for the Valletta Summit and CHOGM Malta 2015 to be auctioned with proceeds going towards the Malta Community Chest Fund

Following the Valletta Summit on Migration and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the 78 luxury vehicles provided by Volvo (58 Volvo XC60 and 20 Volvo S60), which are being used during these occasions, shall be auctioned off on Saturday 5th December, at MFCC, Ta’ Qali. All proceeds will be donated to L-Istrina 2015.

A spokesperson for the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce, Mr. Kurt Farrugia stated: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Volvo as a partner for this year’s CHOGM. The warm welcome and care dedicated to every visiting head of government with Volvo’s cooperation will be extended through this auction and its charitable aims. We are incredibly satisfied that through the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce, we can help as a facilitator for the Malta Community Chest Fund in its noble work.”

 

The Chairman of the Malta Community Chest Fund’s Board of Administrators, Mr John Camilleri, thanked all those who are contributing towards this auction, so as to assist the hundreds of people who seek the Malta Community Chest Fund’s assistance.  Mr Camilleri explained that between January and September of this year, the Malta Community Chest Fund spent over €1,000,000 in specialised chemotherapy for a number of Maltese and Gozitan citizens, both children and adults, who needed this assistance.  Moreover, another €900,000 are committed towards various humanitarian projects carried out by non-governmental organisations.

 

A spokesperson for GasanZammit Motors Ltd, Mr Stefan Deguara stated that “It is an honour for me to represent Volvo as the Official Transport Partner for the Valletta Summit on Migration and CHOGM Malta 2015.  As many know, the Volvo strategy is ‘Designed Around You.’  This means that we place the person in the centre of all decisions taken, when dealing with the Product, the Business and the Corporate Culture.  It is for this reason that it is a great honour for us to associate Volvo with this noble cause which will benefit a lot of people through L-Istrina.

 

The Volvo vehicles which shall be auctioned shall all be brand new, used only for three days during the above-mentioned events.  The cars, which shall be the means of transport of the Heads of Government, shall be driven by persons specifically trained by the Armed Forces of Malta.  The cars shall be available to all those who are interested in the auction, at MFCC during the week prior to the 5th December.

 

Special arrangements have also been made with Bank of Valletta and Gasan Mamo Insurance so that both companies are present for the viewings as well as during the auction, so as to provide preferential rates and financial and insurance packages tailor-made for the purchase of these cars.

 

Those who make prospective offers for these cars shall have the choice to organise their financial and insurance packages and submit the offer to the car of their choice, all in one place, thereby facilitating their purchase.

 

The starting price for the auctions shall include a €2,500 contribution on each vehicle towards L-Istrina. The Malta Community Chest Fund shall be retrieving the full amount that shall be made above the reserve prices.  Market prices and reserve prices against which the bids can start are:

  

Model

Amount

Market Price (€)

Bid Starting Price (€)

XC60

58

44,500

32,500

S60

20

41,500

30,500

 

The auction being held on 5th December at MFCC Ta’ Qali shall be broadcast live on TVM.   The auctioneer shall be Mr Pierre Grech Pillow, whereas Mr Peppi Azzopardi will host the programme.

 

03/11/2015 | 15:36 UTC

CHOGM Malta 2015 - Countdown Begins

October activities have been nothing short of exciting, as CHOGM gets even closer.

The list of speakers for the Commonwealth Women’s Forum was released, giving a taste of the topics to come, as outlined in the programme here.

.The first briefing session for Maltese Commonwealth Youth Forum participants was held.

 

The CHOGM 2015 partnership with GasanZammit Motors was announced, with Volvo being chosen as the official vehicle for the summit. A fleet of 78 brand-new Volvos have been acquired, to be used by all visiting heads of government and foreign ministers. These vehicles will also be put to go use for EU and African heads of government, coming for the Valletta Summit on Migration on the 11th and 12th November.

 

The programme for the state visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in conjunction with the CHOGM, was published along with details of separate engagements planned for the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

 

While highlights of events open to the public were revealed this month, overviews of two of the prime CHOGM locations are featured in this newsletter. The opening ceremony will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC), renowned for its fine balance of ancient architecture and modern technology, while the official CHOGM retreat is to be held at Fort St Angelo.

 

In this newsletter, light is also been shed on what Malta can bring to the table as host of CHOGM 2015 by Malta’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr George Vella, who speaks of international relations within the Commonwealth and the impact of CHOGM on Maltese citizens and the Commonwealth at large.

 

A volunteer, Jessica Cassar Gaspar, is certainly interested in international relations, and she speaks of the opportunity to witness diplomacy first-hand.

 

 

Finally, with CHOGM drawing nearer, anyone wanting to participate in the forums should apply for accreditation immediately; this is especially important for those needing to apply for a VISA.

03/11/2015 | 15:24 UTC

Foreign Minister, Dr. George W. Vella's thoughts on CHOGM Malta 2015

Malta will be hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the end of November, for the second time in a decade. We all acknowledge that in these past ten years the international scenario has experienced dramatic political, economic and cultural change.

We feel that, unfortunately, the Commonwealth family of nations has been slow in reacting and in reflecting within its structures and functions, the necessary changes to keep abreast of these changes.  We feel that such an association of 53 nations, spanning the globe and representing 2.2 billion people, should have assumed more importance, if not also more responsibility, in the international fora and in international politics.

 

The potential of this association is immense. It is the potential of the Commonwealth that we want to impress upon member states. We want everyone to be aware of what can be achieved by acting in unison and striving towards agreed goals and objectives. We must be assertive.

Because of the Commonwealth’s geographical reach, and the fact that the Commonwealth represents almost one third of humanity, our common actions will have a global impact. This is why we have chosen the theme “The Commonwealth: Adding Global Value”.

 

We are fully committed to respecting the values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. Putting these principles and values at the centre of our political objectives and actions will contribute immensely towards achieving peace and security, good governance and the rule of law, and the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and human  rights, for one third of humanity.

Malta has repeatedly proved its commitment to the ideals, aspirations and mission of the Commonwealth and over the years has contributed in various ways to strengthen the bonds that bind the nations of the Commonwealth together.

 

Malta felt that the time had come for our country to once again contribute to advancing and strengthening the concept of the Commonwealth, as seen through the eyes of the rest of the international community. We are confident that the Commonwealth can play a bigger role internationally. We are confident that the Commonwealth can renew itself from within, becoming more effective, more relevant and more influential. We are confident that such renewed awareness would eventually reflect itself in better opportunities for the citizens of the Commonwealth countries themselves.

 

Therefore, the first thing Malta wants to bring to the table during CHOGM 2015, is a sense of pride of belonging to this august organisation. We want to instill a conviction that by working together as a family of 53 nations we can achieve much. We want to make member states of the Commonwealth more aware of the untapped latent potential of opportunities that this organisation can offer. The fora that will meet in parallel to CHOGM offer an opportunity for Governments and civil societies to exchange views and propose action to their mutual benefit.  It is our intention to fully harness this invaluable contribution. It is appropriate to mention that, for the first time ever, upon Malta’s initiative, there will be a “Women’s Forum” in addition to the usual fora. We wanted CHOGM to be better informed of the potential lying within its citizens.

 

Malta is very conscious of the problems facing small states, and ever more so of small island states, which account for practically half the membership of the Commonwealth family of nations.  We are especially concerned about the vulnerabilities of these countries, not least their ability to gain access to credit.  In this context, we are strongly promoting the setting up of a Small States Centre of Excellence, and a Commonwealth Credit Financing Facility, to help with targeted capacity-building programmes and activities. This will assist these countries to advance and achieve democracy, development and economic resilience.

 

We have taken the opportunity of the presence in Malta of 53 nation states to organise a Special Executive Session on Climate Change. It is our earnest hope that during this Special Session all countries will join together to produce a unified message of support and commitment on climate action, which will be CHOGM’s contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, taking place in Paris a few days after the Malta meeting.  The importance of this initiative is further reflected in the fact that both the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, will be honouring us with their presence in Malta.

 

This CHOGM will, once more, confirm Malta’s credentials on the international scene.  CHOGM will give Malta the golden and exceptional opportunity to consolidate its networking with Commonwealth member states, be it for renewed diplomatic relations, business and trade opportunities, or the launching of educational and cultural projects. People to people contacts are important and we will be renewing already established practices and contacts.

It is interesting to point out that only a couple of weeks before CHOGM, Malta will be in the international limelight with the convening in our country of another major international event - the EU-Africa Summit on Migration.

 

It is an acknowledged fact that migration is a phenomenon that bears both opportunities and challenges and needs to be well managed by the international community.  There is much that we can do in addressing the root causes of migration, building on the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals.  Indeed, this subject will feature on the CHOGM agenda and we are looking forward to a constructive debate.  Even though not many of the African countries from which irregular migration originates are members of the Commonwealth, migration is a phenomenon which, unfortunately, is very familiar to Commonwealth member states around the globe, whose citizens, looking for a better quality of life, end up as irregular migrants in member states of the European Union.

 

I strongly believe that Malta has a critical role to play. Being one of only three Commonwealth states in the European Union, Malta can convey the feelings and the aspirations of the Commonwealth nations who are members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific groups of countries, with which the European Union has special relationships.

 

 

For Malta the coming CHOGM is a signal event. We consider this occasion as a watershed.  As Chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years, Malta is determined to see that, following the Malta event, the Commonwealth embarks on a more assertive and more influential course, ensuring the organisation a more beneficial lease of life.