News

    Climate Change Issues Dominate Commonwealth Summit.

    Commonwealth leaders agree to admit Rwanda.

    Douglas Mpuga

    The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) concluded late Sunday in Trinidad and Tobago’s capital, Port of Spain. The three-day summit of the Leaders of the 53-nation body issued a declaration on Saturday that backed upcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen meant to draft a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

    They also agreed to admit Rwanda as the 54th member. A former colony of Germany and Belgium, Rwanda now joins Mozambique as the only Commonwealth members with no past colonial or constitutional links to Britain.

    However, climate change discussions dominated the three-day summit. “We have not been impressed by this CHOGM. First of all, it has been so dominated by climate change issues, all other issues have been put on a black banner,” said Henry Gombya, the editor-in-chief of Straight Talk Chronicle, an online newspaper, who is in the Port of Spain to cover the summit. 

    He said issues of concern to the commonwealth such as poverty, hunger, displaced people in places like Darfur [Sudan] and problems in eastern Asia, all these issues have not been discussed.”Gombya said the leaders have not yet issued a unified statement on their stand on climate change but there is a lot of discussion.

    He said that the issue of admitting Rwanda into the commonwealth was not easy because at some point “some leaders were opposed and they wanted to stop that admission [of Rwanda] but eventually Rwanda was admitted.”

    Gombya said any country is free to apply to join the Commonwealth and Rwanda had expressed interest many years ago. “Rwanda has been trying to join for the last 16 years,” he said, “especially since [President Paul] Kagame became president and Rwanda’s membership has been pushed very hard by Ugandan president [Yoweri] Museveni.”

    Gombya noted that the presence of other non-commonwealth leaders who attended this summit for the first time might have contributed to the altering of the agenda. For the first time ever the Secretary-general of the United Nations attended a commonwealth summit.

    As well as Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, two other non-commonwealth leaders also flew into the Caribbean country to take part in climate change talks, as leaders across the world look for a binding commitment in the Danish capital next month.

    President Nicholas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen of Denmark –who will chair the United Nations sponsored talks next month – both spoke with commonwealth leaders and attended a special session on climate change.
    Gombya said the presence of these other leaders took attention away from the actual agenda of the summit.

     “There has been, for instance, so much silence about what has been achieved since the last CHOGM summit in Kampala,” he said, adding that “climate change seems to be the main focus of most delegates.”
     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora