BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SOLOMON Islands joins 53 nations under the Commonwealth for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which starts on the 16th April 2018.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela and his delegation are in London for the CHOGM, with the official opening ceremony taking place on the 16th April at the Buckingham Palace.
In the coming days, PM Hou will join other leaders in working sessions to discuss shared global challenges, attend a dinner hosted by Her Majesty The Queen at the Buckingham Palace and gather at the Windsor Castle for the leaders’ retreat.
This will give the opportunity for leaders including Hou and his delegation to interact and engage in frank dialogue and set the course for future Commonwealth co-operation.
The CHOGM is an opportunity for Solomon Islands to share the country’s pressing issues related to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Solomon Islands joined the Commonwealth in 1978, since then after every two years the country is privileged to participate in the CHOGM gathering.
At the CHOGM, member countries discuss and share common ideas and interests.
Across the Commonwealth, member states face common challenges such as weak global trade and investment-flow, new cross-border security threats and the effects of climate change on small islands and other vulnerable states.
Discussions will also highlight threats to the 53 nations’ shared values of democracy, good governance and inclusivity as set out in the Commonwealth Charter.
This year’s summit’s theme is “Towards a common future”.
The theme is focussed on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth to ensure this unique organisation is responsive to global challenges and delivers a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all its citizens, particularly its young people.
In this year’s CHOGM, the forums will centre on ‘people’, ‘business’, ‘women’ and ‘youth’.
On the global context, Human Rights Advocator in Uganda, Africa Mr Opiyo called for discussions on unfinished business in Uganda’s human rights which the Commonwealth has been seen as having ‘failed to address’.
At the CHOGM, Uganda human rights advocators will bring to the table human rights abuses which continue to impede any progress towards the establishment of an accountable government and the rule of law.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern will use this CHOGM as an opportunity to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss bilateral and international issues, including the shared goal of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) once the UK has left the European Union (EU).
Meanwhile, Island Sun understands PM Hou will officially open Solomon Islands diplomatic office in London.