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Commonwealth summit concludes with agreement on climate change

29 November 2015

Commonwealth Heads of Government ended their summit in Malta today with an agreement on new measures to tackle climate change and combat radicalisation.

The final communiqué also reflected commitments on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; seeking solutions to global migration challenges; and empowering young people as partners and agents of change, amongst others.

The three-day meeting was attended by leaders from all 53 Commonwealth countries, including 31 heads of government. The theme was Adding Global Value.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and French President François Hollande joined heads for a special session on climate change ahead of the COP21 talks in Paris. Commonwealth leaders issued a statement on climate action in which they committed to working towards an ambitious, equitable, inclusive, balanced, rules-based and durable outcome at COP21.

At the summit, leaders also selected the Commonwealth’s sixth Secretary-General, Dominican-born Baroness Patricia Scotland. The former UK Attorney General, who is the Commonwealth’s first woman Secretary-General, will take office on 1 April 2016.

CHOGM was preceded by four forums, which included an inaugural Women’s Forum, addressed by Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri. It concluded with a call for quotas and targets to get more women into leadership positions.

The Youth Forum highlighted the important role that young people can play in preventing violence and conflict. A new unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat will be established to counter violent extremism and advance the Commonwealth’s role in international efforts in this regard.

The Business Forum was attended by more than 1,300 delegates from 75 countries. The Forum identified a number of areas where the Commonwealth can increase trade and investment across financial services, technology, infrastructure, healthcare, tourism and sustainability. Five new initiatives were launched to facilitate this.

For the first-time ever, LGBTQI rights were discussed at the Commonwealth People’s Forum and recommendations on this subject, amongst others, were included in the final outcome document, the Malta Declaration on Governance for Resilience.

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