Abigail Chaponda of the Zambia High Commission discusses her country’s role in implementing Commonwealth mandates

ZAMBIA WAS AMONG the countries that attended the nineteenth Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting that ran alongside the Global Media Freedom Conference at the Commonwealth Secretariat at Marlborough House on 10 July 2019. Attracting Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers as well as ministers from across the globe involved with media, Zambia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Joseph Malanji noted that the meeting was important, “because it brings member countries together so that they can achieve the aspirations of Commonwealth citizens of ‘a Fairer, More Prosperous, More Sustainable and More Secure Future.”’

The Minister said that Zambia had already started implementing some of the 2018 Commonwealth Summit mandates, such as the privilege to host the twenty-first Commonwealth Law Conference in April 2019 in Livingstone. Focusing on the theme ‘The Rule of Law in Retreat: Challenges for the Modern Commonwealth,’ the event was held in collaboration with the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Law Association of Zambia.

In his official opening address to the Commonwealth Law Conference 2019, President of the Republic of Zambia His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu called on legal practitioners “to be watchdogs for the rule of law and keep the executive, judiciary and legislature in check, in order to achieve a Fairer Future.” Futhermore, he said, “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, when 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 International Business Festival in Liverpool, UK.”

The President also explained that in November 2018 Zambia and Canadajointly led the third UN Resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriages, which was a call to action on member states to implement their commitment to eliminate these practices by 2030.

The Minister said that to prevent online child sexual exploitation, the country – through the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, and in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation – had established a web-based portal where illegal images and videos of child sexual abuse could be reported anonymously and removed from the internet, contributing to a ‘More Secure Future.’

The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting also took stock of the progress made towards implementing the CHOGM 2018 Mandates since April 2018 as spelt out in the CHOGM Communiqué, regarding a ‘Fairer, More Prosperous, More Sustainable and More Secure Future.’

At CHOGM 2015 in Malta, 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 twenty-first century at CHOGM 2018, Heads of Government recalled their directive to establish the HLG and directed that the HLG to submit their report to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and further instructed that the Ministers, as their representatives, make decisions on the HLG report.


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