President calls on CHOGM to play greater role in realisation of Langkawi and Iwokrama objectives

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, April 19, 2018

President David Granger speaking at the first session of the Executive meetings being hosted as part of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, today said the Organisation has an obligation to assist in the realisation of the objectives of the 1989 Langkawi Declaration and the Iwokrama.

H.E. President David Granger at the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

He called on CHOGM to recapture the spirit of Langkawi by doing a number of things, among them, the promotion of projects such as Iwokrama, the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, the International Solar Alliance and the Blue Oceans Charter.

“Providing increased financial and technical assistance for climate mitigation and adaptation, particularly for small island developing and low-lying states coastal states and promulgating initiatives which support ‘green’ economies,” President Granger said are ways by which the Commonwealth can help the process.

Langkawi and Iwokrama, he noted, embody the Commonwealth’s commitment to protecting the earth and ensuring a common future for all.

This common future, President Granger told the meeting, requires a safe, secure and sustainable “common home,” protected from the adverse effects of climate change.

“Everyone’s future will be imperiled unless we preserve and protect earth’s environment,” the President warned.

When the Langkawi Declaration was issued, Guyana took immediate action by demonstrating “how a ‘small’ state could make a ‘big’ gift to the world,” President Granger affirmed.

Guyana committed a forested area of 371, 000 hectares as a model for conservation and sustainable forest management. The Iwokrama covenant, he said was sealed in 1995 with the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat for the establishment of the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development.

President Granger told leaders that, “Iwokrama was then and remains today, the Commonwealth’s flagship environmental programme. It is an excellent example of how the Commonwealth could fulfil the objectives of the Langkawi Declaration for international environmental cooperation. Langkawi survives and thrives in Iwokrama.”

A key agreement of Langkawi was the pledge by developed countries not to connect future international development aid to the commitment to environmental sustainability or introduce trade barriers. This, the developing countries argued, would prevent economic growth.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Rt. Hon. Theresa May said the meeting is taking place at a time of significant global challenges, noting that the rules-based international system, which has consistently delivered both prosperity and peace, faces threats in many forms and on many fronts.

“Climate change and extreme weather continue to take lives and damage livelihoods across the Commonwealth. And the new opportunities afforded by the digital world have brought with them new risks, with our cyber-security under attack from individuals and state actors,” she pointed out to the Heads of Government.

The issues and more will be addressed today and tomorrow both at the Lancaster House and the retreat for the Heads at Windsor.

According to the Prime Minister, Commonwealth is a unique Organisation and, at this summit, we have an opportunity to deliver lasting change that benefits all of our 2.4 billion people.

This evening, President Granger will attend Her Majesty the Queen’s dinner for Heads of Government at the Buckingham Palace.


By: Stacy Carmichael


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