Commonwealth goes green
Article Date: 10 Mar 2008
March 10 is Commonwealth Day, which falls on the second Monday in March each year. The aim of commemorating Commonwealth Day is to promote understanding on world issues, show how countries can work together and show what the organisation is doing to improve the lives of its 2 billion citizens.
This year’s theme is 'The Environment - Our Future' and talks specifically to young people who will inherit many of the scourges of increasing environmental degradation, specifically that of climate change.
When Commonwealth leaders met on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda last November, they expressed their grave concern about the threat that climate change represents to human society and to economic well-being. The result of their deliberations was the Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan, which mandates member governments to play a role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, and encourages them to actively address the problem, acknowledging that “the cost of inaction on mitigation and adaptation is far greater than the cost of early action”.
In this edition of CQ, Mark Collins, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, discusses some of the serious environmental issues facing member countries and looks at how the Commonwealth can work together to address them.
CQ also takes a look at the impact of deforestation in Sierra Leone, where wood and charcoal make up 90 per cent of total energy consumption.
The Secretariat has linked up with an award-winning eco-school, and pupils are visiting Marlborough House on 11 March to showcase their work. Their journey - ‘Green shoots across the Commonwealth’ - is an inspiring read.
Education also features strongly with a story about how the Vancouver-based Commonwealth of Learning is working with marginalised people in India using computer kiosks to directly improve their livelihoods. And in rural Zambia, a Commonwealth grant is supporting 60 girls to complete their education.
CQ hopes to regularly showcase some of Commonwealth’s important, but often complicated procedures. In this edition, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, known as CMAG, is explained.
Other items include combating corruption and developing justice systems and a story about the innovative work going on in public sector development.
Eduardo del Buey,
Director of the Communications and Public Affairs Division