Foreign Secretary James Cleverly today (15 March) reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to the Commonwealth, a diverse network of 56 nations, at the 22nd Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) in London.
He stressed a focus on developing intra-Commonwealth trade and investment, tackling climate change, protecting the environment, and promoting the Commonwealth’s shared democratic values.
Foreign Ministers discussed progress made on shared Commonwealth objectives since they last met in Kigali in June 2022. They also discussed tackling climate change, boosting trade and investment between Commonwealth countries, and supporting free and democratic societies.
They reviewed plans for the next meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), scheduled to take place in Samoa in 2024, and considered a number of country-specific situations.
The Foreign Secretary encouraged a focus on efforts that can deliver clear benefits for all Commonwealth members and where the Commonwealth has a comparative advantage.
The Foreign Secretary set out three UK priorities during the meeting:
- Increase trade and investment between Commonwealth countries. Members should ensure the benefits of the Commonwealth Advantage’, the 21% lower average cost of trade between Commonwealth countries, are built on and extended to new members. The Foreign Secretary stressed the need to support Commonwealth members facing challenges in attracting inward investment.
- Use the Commonwealth’s powerful collective voice to continue to counter the impact of climate change, and work with small and vulnerable members, including Small Island Developing States, to build their resilience to shocks.
- Support and further embed democracy, good governance, the rule of law and gender equality across the Commonwealth.
In addition to CFAMM, James Cleverly also held a number of individual bilateral meetings, including with the Prime Minister of Samoa, and with Foreign Ministers from Rwanda, Jamaica, Malaysia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya.