British Foreign Secretary celebrates Commonwealth progress

UK hosts event for Commonwealth countries at UN General Assembly in New York on 25 September 2018.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Jeremy Hunt
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and British Foreign Secretary side-by-side during the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem meeting. Photo: Twitter/UKenyatta

In his first major Commonwealth event since becoming Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt hosted a reception for the 52 Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday (25 September 2018).

Mr Hunt welcomed progress by Commonwealth countries on the commitments they made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in April.

Since CHOGM, the UK and Kenya have hosted the Global Disability Summit; Vanuatu became the first country in the world to enact a ban on a range of single-use plastics, with other states including India following suit; the Commonwealth SheTrades programme has launched in Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh and Nigeria, with over 1300 women entrepreneurs now registered.

The Foreign Secretary also announced a £1.8 million UK contribution to the Commonwealth’s electoral observation programme.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“The Commonwealth is responding to the global challenges of today, from climate change to economic protectionism.

“Five months on from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London, the 53 countries of the Commonwealth are taking forward real action on their commitments to a fairer, more secure, more sustainable and prosperous future.

“The Commonwealth is a unique organisation and a champion for the rules-based international system – but it must be seen to deliver, and then keep delivering.”

Minister for the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

“The Commonwealth, through its organisations and its member states, large and small, developed and developing, is a force to be reckoned with.

“During the next two years when the UK is Chair-in-Office, we are determined to work closely with our partners to keep up the momentum, to revitalise and reform the Commonwealth for the 21st century.”

The Foreign Secretary will be chairing a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting, where discussions will include progress on the Commonwealth Blue Charter; increasing intra-Commonwealth trade; addressing cyber security threats, and reform of the Commonwealth Secretariat to ensure it is efficient and delivering for its member states.

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