Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) starts in Rwanda amidst Protest from DRC

Rwanda 2022 - The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda will address global issues and Commonwealth priorities. Leaders from 54 countries will gather in Kigali, Rwanda, this week for the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the sixth time the event has been hosted by an African country.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) starts in Rwanda amidst Protest from DRC
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

By John Kusolo

Rwanda 2022 - The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda will address global issues and Commonwealth priorities. Leaders from 54 countries will gather in Kigali, Rwanda, this week for the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the sixth time the event has been hosted by an African country. The week-long summit is expected to attract over 5,000 participants from government, business, and civil society under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.

Meetings begin in the Rwandan capital on Sunday 19 June with four forums – covering youth, women, business and civil society – culminating with the official Retreat for leaders at the Intare Conference Arena on Saturday 25 June. At the Leaders Retreat – unique to the Commonwealth – Heads of Government meet privately to discuss collaboration on global and Commonwealth priorities.

Commonwealth Secretary-General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said:

“Since the last time the Commonwealth family came together for CHOGM in 2018, the onset of COVID-19, new and ongoing conflicts, and the accelerated impact of climate change have fundamentally altered the global landscape and tested our resilience.

“This succession of events has changed lives, livelihoods, communities and economies. We know that in times of crises, the poor and most vulnerable are disproportionately affected. Many development gains, likewise, have been thrown off track, while others have regressed. “That’s why with eight years to go until the Sustainable Development Goals ‘endgame,’ leaders at CHOGM are committed to harnessing lessons learned, working together and taking inspiration from the innovative solutions that we’ve seen emerge over the past few years.

“The Commonwealth is a bedrock for member states, rooted in a shared history, collective aspirations and progressive solutions. At a time when multilateralism is under serious strain, CHOGM offers a vital forum to deliver the objectives of member states and an opportunity to draw upon all the talents of the member states to deliver a smarter, more resilient, prosperous, confident and sustainable Commonwealth.”

A Ministerial Meeting for the Commonwealth’s 32 Small Island Developing States is scheduled for Wednesday 22 June at which economic vulnerability, climate action and access to finance and debt sustainability are expected to top the agenda. The Commonwealth has a long history championing the needs of Small States, which face unique challenges related to climate change and external economic shocks.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022 takes place 20-25 June 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda. The official opening of CHOGM takes place on Friday 24 June and is followed by the main high-level meetings of Heads on Friday 24 to Saturday 25 June. They are proceeded by four Forums, ministerial meetings, side events and other activities.

CHOGM was due to take place in June 2020 but was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schedule: Please note all times are in GMT+2 Monday 20th june 2022 Commonwealth Women's Forum All #CWF events takes place on 20-21 June, 2022 at the Serena Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. More info and media contact 9am - 10.30am: Commonwealth Women's Forum Opening Session The Commonwealth Women’s Forum will officially begin with a plenary reflecting on gender equality, Welcome Remarks, a young speaker highlighting opportunities in the Commonwealth, and Opening Remarks from a Guest of Honour.

Watch recording 11am - 12.30pm: Women in Leadership: Beyond Numbers What is meaningful leadership, and what does it look like? In considering this question, pioneers who have advanced gender equality across the Commonwealth are invited to show not only that they have achieved high levels of women’s representation in decision making, but that this increased representation has led to real and lasting change for the betterment of society. Watch recording 1.30pm - 3pm: Women’s Economic Empowerment: Breaking Barriers This session considers the challenges affecting women’s economic empowerment, and opportunities for their full and equal participation in economic life. It examines the hurdles women face in trade and entrepreneurship and will devise key entry points that might to clear the way for greater and sustainable economic empowerment.

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3.30pm - 5.30pm: Parallel sessions

Engaging Men and Boys: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

The session looks at programmes dedicated to engaging men and boys as agents of positive change and examines the critical role data plays in understanding violence against women and girls (VAWG) and its wider impacts. It will provide a platform to present the Secretariat’s project on the Economic Cost of VAWG (EconVAWG) which utilises a new framework that determines the economic cost of VAWG for various sectors in the economy and the state.

Intergenerational Celebration

This session will highlight the recognition and celebration of the contributions and diversity of women and girls of all ages, including older women. The session will explore the multiple and intersecting forms of inequalities and discrimination that can be exacerbated in later life and how best to overcome these challenges. Speakers from across the Commonwealth with a background in aged care and civil society organisations will discuss the responsibility for recognising the role that women of all ages can play in community development.

Commonwealth Youth Forum

All #CYF events take place on 19-21 June 2022 at the Intare Conference Arena in Kigali, Rwanda. More info and media contact 9am - 10.15am – Plenary Three: Youth Championing Innovation for Transformation and Development This session will include a keynote address, sharing of stories of impact, and a panel of experts, change-makers and influencers who will explore Innovation, technology and how the youth can leverage their knowledge to accelerate impact.

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10.15am - 10.45am – Launch of Youth Led Initiatives: Commonwealth Youth Taskforce for HPV awareness and I AM Campaign for Cervical Cancer Elimination

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10.45am - 12.30pm – Youth Action Lab Two Governance and the Rule of Law: Youth Involvement in Decision-Making

Youth and Human Capital: Inclusive, Equitable and Accessible Opportunities

Trade, Entrepreneurship and Employment Information and Communication Technology and Innovation Sustainability: Environment, Climate Change and Blue Economies

Health and COVID-19

1.30pm - 2.45pm – Plenary Four: Co-creation and Strategic Partnership This session will include a keynote address, sharing of stories of impact, and a panel of experts, change makers and influencers who will provide tips and insights to identifying and forming strategic partnerships required to take projects and ideas forward.

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2.45pm - 4pm – Youth Action Lab Three

Governance and the Rule of Law: Youth Involvement in Decision-Making

Youth and Human Capital: Inclusive, Equitable and Accessible Opportunities

Trade, Entrepreneurship and Employment Information and Communication Technology and Innovation Sustainability: Environment, Climate Change and Blue Economies

Health and COVID-19

4pm - 5pm – Plenary Five: The Economic Imperative: Skills Development for 21st Century Jobs This session will include a keynote address, sharing of stories of impact, and a panel of experts, change makers and influencers who will discuss in-demand skills, jobs and predicting needs of the future to future-proof young people and future generations.

5.15pm - 6pm – Fire side chat

An interaction between youth experts of inspirational experiences. 6pm-9pm – City Immersion into Kigali

Tuesday 21st June 2022

Please note all times are in GMT+2

Commonwealth Women's Forum

All #CWF events takes place on 20-21 June, 2022 at the Serena Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. More info and media contact 9am - 11am: Gender and Climate Change: Interactions and Opportunities for Progress

This session will be a platform to highlight the role and contribution of women in ensuring successful climate change resilience. It is necessary to include and promote women as vital change-makers and ensure their seat at the policy and decision-making table. With several Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable territories - including cities, home to large informal communities - in the Commonwealth already feeling the harsh effects of climate change and other disaster risks, all sectors of society must be united in protecting the diverse communities of the Commonwealth family.

11.30am - 1.30pm: Parallel sessions – Addressing the barriers to gender equality and Women Empowerment

Accountability for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

This session examines the progress that Commonwealth member countries have made in establishing domestic accountability mechanisms pertaining to gender equality and women empowerment. It will consider how governments have participated in existing international accountability mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review, highlight innovative Commonwealth best practice in promoting government accountability including with respect to the need to address gender-disaggregated data gaps, and providing concrete recommendations for the development of accountability mechanisms for gender equality.

Human Capital Development: Building Girls Leaders of Tomorrow

By exploring the global challenge brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, this session will highlight how digital technologies continue to impact human capital development. Speakers from diverse sectors will discuss the positive and negative lessons learnt across the Commonwealth from the impact of COVID-19 on the ability of women to work, progress in their careers, access education, use coping mechanisms, and address the skills necessary for women to be well positioned in an increasingly digital economy. 2.30pm - 4pm: Parallel sessions

Peace in the Commonwealth: Women’s Engagement in Peace and Security

This session will be a platform to explore the question of what can be done to enable more meaningful women’s participation in peace and security and how the aspirations of UNSCR 1325 can be more fully realised across the Commonwealth and the world, with an emphasis on transformative conditions that can enable women’s meaningful participation. With speakers drawn from the sectors of peace mediation, military and security institutions and peace programming, this session will provide a forum to explore what practical measures can be taken to enable greater and more meaningful participation of women in peace and security.

Conquering Cervical Cancer in the Commonwealth: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities

Speakers from both medical and civil society backgrounds will discuss the importance of prioritising cervical cancer elimination and the challenges the Commonwealth faces with cervical cancer. The Commonwealth accounts for approximately 40% of global cervical cancer incidence and 43% of cervical cancer mortality. The outcome of this discussion will form part of important pre-CHOGM policy recommendations and will build up on the Heads of Government commitments in addressing the rising burden of non-communicable diseases. Media contact

4.30pm - 5.30pm: Outcomes of Commonwealth Women’s Forum and Closing Remarks Commonwealth Youth Forum All #CYF events take place on 19-21 June 2022 at the Intare Conference Arena in Kigali, Rwanda. More info and media contact 9am - 12.30pm – Commonwealth Youth Council General Assembly and Capacity Building Sessions 1.30pm - 2.30pm – Closing Ceremony, Commonwealth Youth Council Installation and Action Plan Presentation 2.30pm - 5pm – Commonwealth StartUp Festival! A Celebration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship The Startup Festival is a celebration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the amazing contributions of Commonwealth Youth to addressing some of the world's greatest challenges brought to life through a collaboration of various ecosystem partners.

Side events

7.30am - 9.30 – Blue Charter Action Groups Tackling Ocean and Climate Change

Lemigo Hotel, Kigali

The Climate crisis is also an ocean crisis. Action Groups under the Commonwealth’s flagship ocean programme, the Blue Charter, are responding to climate change under their respective themes. This event will showcase a sampling of Action Groups’ efforts to date and will encourage discussion on future ocean-climate strategies and initiatives.

Contact e-mail: Commonwealth Blue Charter team. Media contact 9am - 10.30am and 11am - 12.30pm – Access to Justice and Technology, and the Inaugural Commonwealth Legal Debate Mkombozi Hall, Park Inn Kigali

The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, with the support of the Secretariat’s Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform, is hosting a panel discussion on the use of technology as a means of improving access to justice, how to build an enabling environment for people-centred justice, and ethical considerations around law and technology. The session will also showcase some innovative technology solutions that vastly improve access to justice. The Inaugural Commonwealth Legal Debate will be held immediately after the Access to Justice and Technology Innovation event. During this parliamentary-style debate, four student teams discuss a challenging debate question framed in the context of a changing and rapidly modernising legal world, while exploring the framework provided by Commonwealth values and principles. Due to meeting room capacity, attendance confirmation will be done on a first come, first served basis. RSVP by e-mailing Francisca Pretorius, Commonwealth Secretariat.

9am – 5.45pm followed by a cocktail reception – Day 1 of Side Event Programme Focused on the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation Across the Commonwealth

Ubumwe Grande, Kigali

The two-day side event will directly contribute to the overarching CHOGM theme of ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’ and will complement the work being undertaken in other forums. It will focus on approaches to ensure citizens are at the heart of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Member states, both large and small, are already facing the impacts of climate change and rapid urbanisation, while the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these impacts, resulting in one of the worst global health and economic shocks of recent times.

Responding to these challenges, Commonwealth partners including the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and The Prince’s Foundation, have come together to issue a Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth, to advance sustainable urbanisation in the Commonwealth through the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative.

Invitations: Day 1 is Technical level and Day 2 is ministerial level. For day 2, wider members of the delegation and High Commission are also invited to attend. RSVP by e-mailing Victoria Hobday, Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative. Rwanda - Commonwealth Fashion Week - Collective Rwanda

Various venues in Kigali

Rwanda - Commonwealth Fashion week will showcase local and Commonwealth fashion, accessories and interior designers. A list of of activities will be organised throughout the week including a panel on sustainable fashion in the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Business Forum, a fashion night out, the launch of a common marketplace and digital exhibition, shop tours and visits to artisans. Rwandan and Commonwealth designers will have the opportunity to learn from each other, co-create, network and build synergies for future collaboration.

Invitations: All delegates are invited to attend, and an RSVP is not required. Contact e-mail: Natasha Haguma, Collective Rwanda.

Commonwealth People’s Forum

21-22 June, 2022

M Hotel in Kigali

View schedule on the Commonwealth Foundation website

Commonwealth Business Forum

21-23 June, 2022

Kigali Convention and Exhibition Village

View schedule on the Commonwealth Business Forum website

Wednesday 22nd June 2022 Please note all times are in GMT+2 Ministerial Meetings

11am - 1pm – Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Meeting 3.30pm - 5.30pm – Commonwealth Ministers Meeting on Small States

Side events

8.30am - 10.30am – CHOGM Breakfast Meeting - Climate Change and the Commonwealth: Accelerating Action

Kigali Conference Centre

This event will showcase the steps that climate-vulnerable member states are taking in response to climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, and brief CHOGM members and related stakeholders on key priorities. This includes joint action among the three Rio Conventions for enhanced climate action through the Living Lands Charter - A Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands (CALL) - and highlighting the progress and steps being undertaken through Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) for enhancing climate action, especially access to global climate finance for member countries.

Heads of Government, Foreign Ministers, Environment Ministers, Senior Environment Officials, Climate Change Focal Points and Executive Secretaries of the three UN Rio Conventions and partner organisations are invited to attend. Open to media. Contact e-mail: Unnikrishnan Nair or the Climate team, Commonwealth Secretariat. Media contact

8.30am - 10am – Countering Violent Extremism

Hôtel Des Mille Collines, Kigali

The Commonwealth Secretariat Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Unit will convene Commonwealth policymakers and senior officials with responsibility for national security policy, counterterrorism, or peace and security policy to discuss challenges, and share best practices on approaches to managing terrorism and preventive steps to address the underlying conditions that drive individuals to radicalise and join violent extremist groups. The event includes a special update from the Commonwealth Cadre of CVE Experts, a network of advisers that was welcomed by CHOGM in 2018. RSVP by e-mailing Anna Sherburn, Commonwealth Secretariat. Media contact

4pm - 5.30pm – Day 2 of Side Event Programme Focused on the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation Across the Commonwealth Ubumwe Grande, Kigali The two-day side event will directly contribute to the overarching CHOGM theme of ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’ and will complement the work being undertaken in other forums. It will focus on approaches to ensure citizens are at the heart of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Member states, both large and small, are already facing the impacts of climate change and rapid urbanisation, while the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these impacts, resulting in one of the worst global health and economic shocks of recent times. Responding to these challenges, Commonwealth partners including the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and The Prince’s Foundation, have come together to issue a Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth, to advance sustainable urbanisation in the Commonwealth through the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative.

Invitations: Day 1 is Technical level and Day 2 is ministerial level. For day 2, wider members of the delegation and High Commission are also invited to attend. RSVP by e-mailing Victoria Hobday, Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative. 5.30pm - 7pm – UN-Commonwealth Advocacy Strategy Reception

Kigali Conference Centre

This high-level side-event in the form of an informal reception will provide a platform for strategy champions as well as ministers to interact informally about the advocacy strategy.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, co-joined with the acting UN Under Secretary-General and High Representative of the Office, UN-OHRLLS, will provide opening remarks. Foreign Ministers are invited to attend. Contact e-mail: Motselisi Matsela, Commonwealth Secretariat. 7.30pm - 9pm – Rethinking Mental Health: A Commonwealth Call to EMPOWER, Care and Transform Kigali Conference Centre

This event in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, the British Asian Trust, and Shuchona Foundation and Bangladesh with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat, echoes the Commonwealth’s principle of promoting access to affordable health care and removing wide disparities and unequal living standards.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs, international organisations, Senior Officials, Members of the delegation and High Commissioners are invited to attend. Please RSVP by e-mailing: Mahfuza Sultana, Government of Bangladesh and Janneth Mghamba, Commonwealth Secretariat. Media contact Rwanda - Commonwealth Fashion Week - Collective Rwanda

Various venues in Kigali

Rwanda - Commonwealth Fashion week will showcase local and Commonwealth fashion, accessories and interior designers. A list of of activities will be organised throughout the week including a panel on sustainable fashion in the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Business Forum, a fashion night out, the launch of a common marketplace and digital exhibition, shop tours and visits to artisans. Rwandan and Commonwealth designers will have the opportunity to learn from each other, co-create, network and build synergies for future collaboration.

Invitations: All delegates are invited to attend, and an RSVP is not required. Contact e-mail: Natasha Haguma, Collective Rwanda.

Commonwealth People’s Forum 21-22 June, 2022 M Hotel in Kigali

View schedule on the Commonwealth Foundation website

Commonwealth Business Forum

21-23 June, 2022

Kigali Convention and Exhibition Village

View schedule on the Commonwealth Business Forum website