In wake of Hurricane Beryl, Commonwealth advocates for global cooperation and climate finance at Gulf Research Meeting

09 July 2024
Commonwealth Secretary-General speaking on a panel at the Gulf Research Meeting

Today at the 14th Annual Gulf Research Meeting, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC delivered a keynote address highlighting the critical need for robust climate action and finance to support countries vulnerable to climate disasters.

Her speech underscored the Commonwealth’s immediate and ongoing efforts post-Hurricane Beryl, which recently impacted several Commonwealth Caribbean nations.

Reflecting on the devastation caused by the hurricane, Secretary-General Scotland detailed the Commonwealth’s rapid response to the crisis. The hurricane severely impacted Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Jamaica, causing loss of life, extensive property damage, and severe disruption to livelihoods.

The Commonwealth Secretariat has initiated its rapid response protocols, mobilising teams from across the Secretariat and partnering organisations to provide essential support on the ground.

Call for enhanced global cooperation

Addressing the strategic importance of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Secretary-General Scotland called for strengthened collaboration between the Commonwealth and the GCC. She invited the GCC to invest in Commonwealth initiatives focused on climate finance, youth employment, digital upskilling, ocean governance, and natural resources management.

“With 56 member states and a population exceeding 2.6 billion, the Commonwealth epitomises the power of collective effort and shared values. Through initiatives like our Meridian Programme, we help our members improve debt management, with a combined portfolio of more than 2.5 trillion dollars of public debt under management across 50 countries.  Whilst our Climate Finance Access Hub has unlocked more than 360 million dollars for our most vulnerable members,” she said.

sg speech

The Secretary-General emphasised the compounded hardships faced by the Commonwealth’s small island developing states (SIDS) due to vulnerability to climate change, high debt burdens and limited fiscal space.

"In an era marked by unprecedented challenges and rapid global transformations, the imperative for robust international cooperation is unequivocal. The difference between success and failure in the world today, and tomorrow, will reside in the ability of governments worldwide to understand, master, and harness new technologies to drive positive change," she continued.

The event, held at the University of Cambridge, featured prominent speakers including a virtual message from H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Mr. Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, GCC Secretary-General, and H.E. Mr. Luigi di Maio, EU Special Representative for the Gulf region.

The Secretary-General also held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Albudaiwi to explore opportunities for investment and collaboration in support of vulnerable states within the Commonwealth.

SG and GCC

The Commonwealth Secretariat's participation in the 14th Annual Gulf Research Meeting highlights its commitment to building strong partnerships and harnessing collective strengths to tackle global challenges and promote sustainable development.

Media contact

  • Rena Gashumba  Communications Adviser, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +44 7483 919 968  |  E-mail