By Abigail Chaponda in London, United Kingdom
The 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting has opened today in London alongside the Global Media Freedom Conference attracting Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers as well Ministers involved with Media across the globe.
The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting is taking place at the Commonwealth Secretariat at Marlborough House in London.
In an interview before the meeting, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Joseph Malanji said the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs meeting is important because it feeds into the Summit of Commonwealth Heads , ultimately bringing member countries together so that they can achieve the aspirations of the Commonwealth citizens of a Fairer, More Prosperous, More Sustainable and More Secure Future.
He said that Zambia has already started implementing some of the 2018 Commonwealth Summit mandates such as the privilege to host in collaboration with the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Law Association of Zambia, the 21st Commonwealth Law Conference in April 2019 in Livingstone under the theme “The Rule of Law in Retreat. Challenges for the Modern Commonwealth”.
“In his official opening address to the Commonwealth Law Conference 2019, His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia called on legal practitioners to be the watchdogs for the rule of law and keep the executive, judiciary and legislature in check, in order to achieve a Fairer Future.
Furthermore, in furtherance of a More Prosperous Future and intra-Commonwealth trade and empowering women, Zambia in collaboration with the International Trade Centre, launched the SheTrades Chapter of Zambia in September 2018 and Madam Esther Lungu, First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, in her capacity as Chairperson of the African Woman Entrepreneurs Program (AWEP), led a delegation of Zambian women entrepreneurs to the SheTrades Global 2018 International Business Festival in Liverpool, UK,” he said
He also said that in November 2018, Zambia and Canada co-led the 3rd UN Resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriages, a call to action on member states to implement their commitment to eliminate child marriages by 2030.
The Minister said that to prevent online child sexual exploitation, Zambia through ZICTA, in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), had established a web-based portal where illegal online images and videos of child sexual abuse could be reported anonymously and removed from the internet, contributing to a More Secure Future.
The meeting will take stock of the progress made towards implementation of the CHOGM 2018 Mandates since April 2018 as spelt out in the CHOGM Communiqué, viz-a-viz; a Fairer, More Prosperous, More Sustainable and More Secure Future
At the CHOGM 2015 in Malta, the Heads of Government mandated the Secretary-General to constitute a High-Level Group (HLG) comprising eminent persons from across the Commonwealth to review the full governance arrangements of the Commonwealth Secretariat to ensure that its governance is streamlined and integrated in order to improve oversight, efficiency and transparency”.
In reaffirming their commitment to reforming the Commonwealth for the 21st century at CHOGM 2018 in April 2018, the Heads of Government recalled their directive for the establishment of the HLG and directed that the HLG submit their report to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and further instructed that the Ministers, as their representatives, make decisions on the HLG report.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Honourable Joseph Malanji and Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Honourable Dora Siliya are in the United Kingdom to attend the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs meeting and the Global Media Freedom Conference respectively.