COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING (CHOGM), IN PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, FROM 27TH TO 29TH NOVEMBER, 2009
Vice President Joseph Belmont is representing Seychelles at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 27th to 29th November.
The Vice-President is accompanied by Mr. Claude Morel, Ambassador of Seychelles to the Republic of France and Mr. Selby Pillay, Director General of the Multilateral Affairs Division of the MFA.
The CHOGM is the lead body of the Commonwealth and is convened every two years to review global, political and economic developments and to conduct a strategic overview of the Commonwealth’s work in support of the interests of member countries. The objective of this Summit is to engage leaders of the Commonwealth in discussing global and Commonwealth issues and to agree upon collective policies and initiatives.
This year’s CHOGM is being celebrated under the theme ‘‘Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future’, to reflect the need for increased international partnership and coordination to overcome the challenges created by the current global economic crisis.
Seychelles welcomes the theme, believing that it is yet another opportunity to reinforce the multilateral ties between the Commonwealth member countries, recognising that strengthened partnerships are crucial to tackling the current global economic crisis and paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future.
The CHOGM will issue a declaration, treating issues affecting the 53 Commonwealth member countries ranging from global, social, political, environmental and economic development, urging that a consensus be attained amongst them.
Vice President is expected to use the meeting to reiterate Seychelles calls for action on Climate Change; Food Security; Piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia; Global Financial Crisis – Seychelles Economic Reform; Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Youth.
CHOGM is being used by the Seychelles’ delegation to reinforce the anti-piracy campaign; highlighting the significant threat it is posing to national security, social and economic well-being, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Seychelles and of other states of the Western Indian Ocean. In view of Seychelles’ limited size and resources, the delegation will attempt to engage the active support of the international community to collectively tackle these assaults on national and international security interests.
The venue of this year’s CHOGM, Trinidad and Tobago, being a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) is especially favourable to enable the leaders to relate and focus on the plight of the SIDS. In preparation for the Copenhagen 2009, UN Climate Change Conference, CHOGM 2009 should provide a platform for the member countries to take a firm stance and reach a consensus in the interests of the greater proportion of its members – being SIDS – to address the threat of climate change. Should the more powerful states put their economic interests above the survival of the small states, condemning them to be wiped out by the climate change, not only the credibility but also the mere existence of the Commonwealth organisation is at risk. Therefore, the call for partnership, equitability and sustainability could not be more pressing at this junction in time for the Commonwealth and the world to take heed.
Vice-President Belmont and his delegation will also take the opportunity to meet with the Commonwealth leaders and its Secretary General, Mr. Kamalesh Sharma in the margin of the CHOGM, to discuss bilateral issues.