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Commonwealth Secretary-General speaking with young diplomats

‘Unite to change the world’ Secretary-General tells young diplomats

13 September 2019

The Secretary-General has urged young diplomats posted to London from across the world to pool their talent, knowledge and dynamism to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting in London, Patricia Scotland said the Commonwealth shines as a beacon of hope and promise in a world where multilateralism is under threat and nationalism and self-interest on the rise.

She said: “Uniting in a spirit of goodwill and mutual support, the similarities of our systems and institutions enable lessons learnt in one setting to be shared, adapted and applied elsewhere.”

The Secretary-General urged the young diplomats to be optimistic in their efforts to initiate positive change. She explained that the Commonwealth is helping the least developed member countries expand and diversify their trade which, she said, is vital in strengthening bonds between countries.

“We have among our Commonwealth members some of the most vulnerable nations in the world, where climate change is not just a distant threat in the future, but a matter of life and death right now,” said the Secretary General.  “The support and encouragement of our ocean specialists at the Commonwealth has resulted in more than 30 countries already signing up to these action groups - and progress continues.”

The Secretary-General also outlined the measures the Commonwealth is taking to tackle high levels of international migration, prompted climate change, conflict, religious intolerance, political or economic instability and unemployment – and exacerbated by corruption.

She said: “Where some of our members may lead on interventions that reduce negative human impacts on the environment, another may show the way on measures to advance social inclusiveness or gender equality, while others pioneer pathways towards greater political or economic development.”

Established in 2002, Young Diplomats in London was created to support newly posted diplomats settling in Britain’s capital city.

Oula Khodr, a Lebanese diplomat at the meeting, said: “The Secretary-General’s speech and words of wisdom were very motivational and inspiring for me a young diplomat who just started her posting in London.  I will definitely remember her advice on optimism throughout my diplomatic career.”