Leaders of Commonwealth countries are meeting in Rwanda on Friday for a summit that promises to tackle climate change, tropical diseases and other challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summit of heads of state of the Commonwealth in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, is the culmination of a series of meetings earlier this week that reported some success in efforts to improve the lives of people in the 54-nation bloc who the home of 2.5 billion people.
Those numbers will increase with the expected admission to the Commonwealth of the African countries of Togo and Gabon, which have asked to join the bloc despite the fact that they have no colonial history with Britain. The Commonwealth is made up mainly of former British colonies, but countries such as Mozambique and Rwanda – a former Belgian colony with an Anglophile leader – have in the past launched successful offers to join the group whose headline is Queen Elizabeth. II is.
Rwanda’s host of the summit is controversial for some who cite the East African country’s poor human rights record under Paul Kagame, an authoritarian leader who has been de facto leader or president since the 1994 genocide. Other critics are dissatisfied with what they see as an illegal and cruel agreement with Britain to transfer migrants thousands of kilometers to Rwanda. That agreement faces legal obstacles, and the first group of migrants has yet to arrive in Rwanda.
World leaders attending the summit in Kigali range from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose leadership of the Conservative Party suffered a heavy blow overnight when voters rejected the party’s candidates in two special elections, is also in Rwanda.
Prince Charles represents his mother, who at 96 limits her official duties.
Other meetings on the brink of the summit have reported some successes in efforts to address pressing issues such as managing climate change and how to fight deadly diseases.
More than $ 4 billion was pledged on Thursday for global efforts to accelerate the fight against malaria and other neglected tropical diseases. The money will come from governments, philanthropists and others in the private sector. In addition, pharmaceutical companies have donated 18 billion tablets to prevent and treat those diseases.
Observers say the fundraiser is a significant breakthrough as malaria is a leading killer in Africa.
Dr. Francisca Olamiju, the head of a non-governmental organization in Nigeria advocating for the poor, told the Associated Press about her high expectations for such a large gathering to bolster campaigns against tropical diseases.
World leaders need to “talk” and mobilize more resources for the cause, she said.
The summit also calls for increased climate action ahead of the United Nations summit on climate change in Egypt later this year.
Commonwealth leaders will adopt the long-awaited “Living Lands Charter”, an action plan to address climate change, soil degradation and biodiversity loss. The charter aims to achieve climate goals through a mix of policy influence, funding, technical assistance, governance and the sharing of knowledge across countries.
Commonwealth governments have been asked to submit their emission reduction targets by September 23rd.
About 32 of the Commonwealth’s members are small states, of which 25 are small islands and developing states that are classified as vulnerable to climate change.