President Maithripala Sirisena will join the Heads of Government of the 53-member Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is to convene in London from 16-20 April 2018. The President will be joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana.
The Commonwealth is a diverse community of nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings are occasions where the leaders of the Commonwealth member states come together to reaffirm common values, address the shared global challenges faced and agree on how to work to create a better future for all citizens, particularly young people.
The theme of the Summit in London – “Towards a Common Future” – is focused on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth to ensure that the organisation is responsive to global challenges and delivers a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all the citizens of the Commonwealth, particularly the young. Recognizing the common challenges faced by all member States, such as weak global trade and investment flows; new cross-border security threats; the effects of climate change on small and other vulnerable states; and threats to shared values of democracy, good governance and inclusivity as set out in the Commonwealth Charter, the leaders will focus on action required to deliver a more sustainable, fairer, secure and prosperous future for the citizens of the Commonwealth.
The Foreign Ministry said that President Sirisena’s participation at the CHOGM will be focused on reaffirming Sri Lanka’s firm commitment to the Commonwealth and deepening Sri Lanka’s partnership with the Organisation as well as with each individual member nation.
The President’s engagements will include the Heads of Government meeting on 19 April, the leaders retreat on 20 April, and addressing the Commonwealth Business Forum as the keynote speaker on 18 April on the theme “Delivering the SDGs: Aligning Business, Society and the Governments”.
Over 50 entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka, mainly from the small and medium enterprise sector, will participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum, positioning Sri Lanka as a trade and investment hub in South Asia to gain the Commonwealth trade advantage. The Business Forum is expected to make a compelling case for free and inclusive trade as the best way to promote higher living standards around the world.
Sri Lanka will become a champion country in the Commonwealth Blue Charter initiative and engage with other member countries in developing a cohesive ocean strategy for the sustenance of the blue economy. A key area where Sri Lanka has expressed interest in spearheading action in this connection is in the restoration of mangroves. (Colombo Gazette)