Unlocking climate finance funds
Of all countries on earth, small island states are most at risk from climate change. So there was a ray of hope for them in 2016 with the opening of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub. This new Commonwealth initiative will enable vulnerable and developing member countries to draw down funding from a global pot with a target of US$100 billion a year by 2020.
Combating climate change
No doubt you’ve heard of Irma, Maria and Matthew, and the destruction those hurricanes wreaked. Now a man named Bilal Anwar is helping Commonwealth countries fight the effects of such storms. Mr Anwar manages our new Commonwealth Finance Access Hub (CFAH), which we set up in Mauritius in 2016. The CFAH is our response to the ongoing and future threats of climate change to our member countries.
Aiding climate-vulnerable members
The world is becoming increasingly aware of the economic challenges affecting small states. In 2016, the Commonwealth made considerable progress in advancing that awareness. An event that helped amplify concern and offer solutions was the Fourth Global Biennial Conference on Small States in Seychelles.
Commonwealth member countries have requested for assistance from the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub
May 2016 was an important month for Mr John Kimotho. As the Deputy Chief Executive of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, he was meeting senior officials from 13 national education ministries in his country’s capital, Nairobi. They gathered there to determine an education policy framework for the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries.
Supporting human rights
Back in 2014, Roxie McLeish-Hutchinson had a bit of an emergency. Recalling that time, she said: “Grenada was already one month overdue in submitting its national report for the Universal Periodic Review under the UN Human Rights Council. Fortunately, the Commonwealth Secretariat was able to help her prepare the report.
Introducing the Commonwealth Blue Charter
In August 2017, Jeff Ardron, Ocean Governance Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, reported on the first High-level Pacific Blue Economy Conference, in Fiji: “The ‘Blue Economy’ is a term that appears to have been invented independently by both Pacific Islanders and the colourful German entrepreneur Günter Pauli. And both were in attendance at the conference. Hosted by the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), it was well attended with high-level dignitaries, celebrities like Jean-Michel Cousteau, and 250-300 participants.
Encouraging trade in small states
Terrence Simfukwe is a trade adviser seconded to Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He’s there as part of the Hub and Spokes Programme. The programme provides trade experts to national ministries and regional trade organisations in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states. Prior to his posting in 2016, he was principal economist for foreign trade in Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Here he outlines Belize’s efforts to develop a national trade policy.
Advising on trade policy
Samson Odhiambo is a long way from home. Since 2014, the Kenyan has lived in Kiribati, an island country in the central Pacific. He’s a national trade adviser there, at the Kiribati Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. He’s working with the ministry to mainstream trade policy and thereby help to develop one of the world’s least developed countries.
Helping small states to be heard
John Ronald Deep Ford wants the world to listen – to him and representatives of other small and vulnerable countries like his. Mr Ford is the Guyana’s Ambassador in Geneva. Guyana is a Commonwealth member state of about 800,000 people, on the Atlantic coast of South America.
Supporting youth-led climate activism
Karuna Rana is from Mauritius, an island state in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the Commonwealth’s small and vulnerable members. Ms Rana and other young people from those countries understand better than anyone else on earth, the threat of global warming. They are the people who are witnessing its effects most directly.
Providing hope on climate change
In Kiribati and other Pacific island countries, regular flooding from rising sea levels is destroying houses, killing crops and poisoning drinking water. On land, climate change is leading to desertification, droughts, wildfires, decreasing crop yields, and diminishing food and water security.