LONDON, Sep 18 (IPS) – The author is the Secretary General of the Commonwealth. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, marked by serious economic, environmental and security crises that transcend global borders, it is abundantly clear that our interdependence is an undeniable reality.
Since the last meeting of world leaders in New York, we have seen a litany of natural disasters continue to devastate our world. Floods, wildfires, storms and droughts have hit countries across the Commonwealth and around the world. From Rwanda to India, the United States to New Zealand, the entire world is feeling the impact of climate change.
If you listen to people from all walks of life, you can hear the fear and despair in their conversations, the anxiety that while we all recognize the problem, leaders are not taking the steps we all need to address the challenges we face.
Our story poignantly reminds us that our choices come down to two paths: cooperation, where we harness our collective humanity, or suffering in isolation.
The ability to unite behind the moral force of our principles enshrined in our Commonwealth Charter and the power of our practical purpose constitutes the foundation and beauty of the modern Commonwealth.
Our independent Member States, spread across five continents and home to a third of humanity, embody a remarkable blend of ingenuity and determination. This fusion of qualities not only pushed India to land a spacecraft on the Moon, but also instilled in us the common resolve to stand united in the face of the challenges of climate change, instability and economic adversity.
On the sidelines of the General Assembly, Commonwealth citizens can be assured that our Foreign Ministers and Environment Ministers will meet to further deepen their commitment to action on the threats to resilience and sustainability in our Member States, and the wider world. Additionally, in a recent milestone, youth ministers, education stakeholders and young leaders from across the Commonwealth met in London last week. Together, they reached agreements on policies and initiatives designed to support and empower our youth. At the heart of these discussions were our young leaders, whose energy, passion and innovation we will need to drive forward.
United in this goal, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing pioneering initiatives, exemplified by the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, an initiative that has successfully mobilized over $250 million in crucial support to countries most in need. . At the same time, calls are growing for reform of global development finance to provide the most vulnerable countries with the resources they need to address the long-term impacts of environmental degradation.
When we gather this week in New York, we seek to bridge the gap between rhetoric and implementation, deepening alliances that transcend boundaries and vested interests, and advancing the vital work of building a future resilient and sustainable for all.
We will prepare the ground for the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Samoa in October 2024.
The road to CHOGM 2024 begins in New York and winds through the great capitals of our Commonwealth family before culminating in Apia. And while we can never underestimate the scale of the challenges we face, the fact that Commonwealth countries are coming together as partners with an equal voice and an equal stake in a shared mission means that we are addressing them – as India’s space mission – with the mindset of what is possible.
Our ministers will come together to reaffirm our commitment to resilience, sustainability and equitable development. We are never mere observers; we are active participants, ready to confront the pressing issues of our time. We will act to bridge the gap between words and deeds, working together to build a better future.
In October next year, when our heads of government meet in Samoa, we know that our strength will lie in our unity. Progress is always difficult and the challenges we face sometimes seem insurmountable, but we know that through the Commonwealth and our unwavering commitment to unity and collective action, we will succeed.
IPS UN Office
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