CPA delegation provides a parliamentary voice at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda
Commonwealth Parliamentarians – including Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers – from 54 countries attended the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The 26th meeting, which took place from 20 to 25 June 2022, was the first meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government since 2018, as a result of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the opening ceremony delegates heard from HRH The Prince of Wales; the new Commonwealth Chair-In-Office and President of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame; the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC; and outgoing Chair-In-Office and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rt Hon. Boris Johnson, MP.
Ahead of the main meeting of Heads of Government, the CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg addressed Commonwealth Foreign Ministers at a roundtable event, raising the issue of CPA status. The CPA Secretary-General also held a number of bilateral meetings with key stakeholders, spoke at different events and visited the Parliament of Rwanda during his visit to Kigali.
Blog: The CPA Secretary-General at CHOGM
Read more about CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg's participation at CHOGM in his blog post.
In the final communiqué issued by Commonwealth Heads of Government, the updated CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures were noted alongside a commitment to fully implement the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Three Branches of Government.
Particular focus at CHOGM 2022 was given to climate change and its affects on the smallest jurisdictions in the world – many of them in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth also admitted Gabon and Togo as its 55th and 56th members respectively.
The week-long programme of high-level side events, Ministers’ meetings and forums – the Commonwealth Youth Forum, the Commonwealth Women’s Forum, the Commonwealth Business Forum, and the Commonwealth People’s Forum – were held in the lead-up to CHOGM 2022.
The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network played a prominent role in the Commonwealth Women’s Forum (CWF). The Forum sought to demonstrate the value of including women as transformational actors who bring diversity into governance processes across political, public and private spheres.
CWF Workshop | Women in Leadership: Beyond the Numbers
At a session on Women in Leadership: Beyond the Numbers, which explored what meaningful leadership looks like and the benefits of having more women in positions of leadership, panellist Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, CWP Chairperson, said, “it’s not about fighting, it is about securing what already belongs to us”.
Elsewhere at the CWF, the CPA Secretary-General spoke at an event on the importance of accountability for gender equality, and Hon. Regina Esparon, Member of the Seychelles National Assembly, represented the CWP at a session on gender and climate change.
Panellists (L-R): Ms Lucy Slack, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Local Government Forum; Hon. Harriett Baldwin MP, Member of the United Kingdom House of Commons and Global Co-Chair of the International Parliamentary Network for Education; Mrs. Cherie Blair CBE, QC, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Hon. Thembisile Nkandimeng, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum; Dr Margee Ensign, American University of Nigeria; Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians network
Panellists from the Women in Leadership: Beyond the Numbers event highlighted several takeaways from the event.
Financial autonomy can open new paths to leadership
Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan MNA (Pakistan), Hon. Harriet Baldwin MP (UK), Mrs. Cherie Blair CBE, QC
Women who do not have freedom over their own finances cannot access the opportunities that equip them to lead. Improving protections for women’s financial autonomy can secure new paths to leadership.
Let’s make pilot schemes fly
Hon. Thembisile Nkandimeng (South Africa)
Pilot schemes looking to increase and improve women’s inclusion are a good start, but there is a real need for hard launches of larger scale initiatives.
Education brings transformation
Dr Margee Ensign (American University of Nigeria) and Ms Shabana Basij-Rasikh (Afghanistan NGO)
The situation in Afghanistan, where girls’ education has been made illegal, has put a stark spotlight on the value of learning and what it can mean for millions of young women and girls across the world.
For more information about the outcomes of CHOGM 2022, visit the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.
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