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President Richards, Head Of State Manning, President Museveni, Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This ruby anniversary year is a vital time for the Commonwealth to recall– and, more notably, look onward. In doing so, I think we could be pleased with how far the Commonwealth has come in its 60years, and yet how true it has actually stayed to its origins. However this does not mean we ought to come to be complacent or hinge on previous successes. Like any kind of great company we have to continuously pay attention to things that give it unique personality.

In my sight one of the core strengths of the Commonwealth hinges on the dedication to usual objectives and also worths. Our shared pledge to “the quest of freedom, tranquility and also progress” that my daddy helped to enshrine in the London Declaration in 1949 means as much today as it did then. We cherish flexibility, freedom as well as development as very much as ever before.

Yet the Commonwealth’s strength lies as much in individuals as it does in values.

Couple of various other international organizations could boast the very same rich diversity of mankind and yet additionally such a commonality of spirit.

The Commonwealth could be proud of that in each of its six years, it has formed the worldwide action to emerging global obstacles.

And on this, the eve of the UN Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, the Commonwealth has a possibility to lead when more. Several of those affected are amongst the most susceptible, as well as many of the individuals least well able to stand up to the unfavorable effects of Climate Change live in the Commonwealth.

A 2nd area of possibility for the Commonwealth is supporting its young people. Similar to environmental obstacles, this location is not brand-new; yet while the Commonwealth might rightly celebrate reaching its 60th wedding anniversary, the future of this association lies with the one billion that are under 25 years of age. The Commonwealth must reveal that it is relevant to as well as supportive of our young people who have to be encouraged that the Commonwealth could aid them to understand their ambitions.

Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, it is a satisfaction for me to be back in Trinidad as well as Tobago, and in the Caribbean. This region is dear to the Commonwealth.
For little island states, the buffeting of the economic tornados of the last twelve months has given a demanding examination; and also wonderful ingenuity has been received order to meet the difficulty. As an organization the Commonwealth must stay specialized to building strength amongst its smaller sized participants.

But it is inadequate to look within the limits of the Commonwealth. In a globe where political, environmental and also economic possibilities as well as troubles go across continents, the Commonwealth will certainly also need to show its relevance past its own boundaries as well as establish a genuinely global perspective.

The motto of Trinidad and Tobago claims: ‘Together we strive, with each other we achieve’. There can be no much better summary of the Commonwealth’s principles as well as no far better guideline for achieving this CHOGM’s stated goal of a more lasting and equitable future.

I hope the leaders right here present– educated by the Commonwealth Youth Forum, individuals’s Forum as well as business Forum held previously today– could map out the route for an additional sixty years of success.

And with these obstacles in mind I am pleased to declare open this twentieth conference of the Commonwealth Heads of Government.

The Challenge of Our Time

1.   Climate change is the predominant global challenge.  We convened a Special Session on Climate Change in Port of Spain to discuss our profound concern about the undisputed threat that climate change poses to the security, prosperity, economic and social development of our people.  For many it is deepening poverty and affecting the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. For some of us, it is an existential threat.

2.    We reaffirm our commitment to the Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan and its further implementation, in particular by contributing to the efforts of member states in transforming their economies and strengthening the capacity and voice of vulnerable groups.

3.    We recognise the unprecedented opportunity of our meeting just ahead of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen. We approach Copenhagen with ambition, optimism and determination. We welcome the attendance of leaders at the Copenhagen conference. The needs of the most vulnerable must be addressed.  Their voice must be heard and capacity to engage strengthened.  Many of us from small island states, low-lying coastal states and least developed countries face the greatest challenges, yet have contributed least to the problem of climate change.

4.    In keeping with the spirit of the theme of CHOGM 2009, `Partnering for a more equitable and sustainable future’, we warmly welcomed the United Nations Secretary General, the Prime Minister of Denmark and the President of France.

5.    We represent a third of the world’s population in all continents and oceans, and more than one quarter of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We have the global reach and diversity to help forge the inclusive global solutions needed to combat climate change.

6.    Science, and our own experience, tells us that we only have a few short years to address this threat. The average global temperature has risen because of the increase in carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions.  The latest scientific evidence indicates that in order to avoid dangerous climate change that is likely to have catastrophic impacts we must find solutions using all available avenues. We must act now.

7.    We believe an internationally legally binding agreement is essential.  We pledge our continued support to the leaders-driven process guided by the Danish Prime Minister and his efforts to deliver a comprehensive, substantial and operationally binding agreement in Copenhagen leading towards a full legally binding outcome no later than 2010.  In Copenhagen we commit to focus our efforts on achieving the strongest possible outcome.

Copenhagen and Beyond

8.    A global climate change solution is central to the survival of peoples, the promotion of development and facilitation of a global transition to a low emission development path. The agreement in Copenhagen must address the urgent needs of developing countries by providing financing, support for adaptation, technology transfer, capacity building, approaches and incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and for afforestation and sustainable management of forests.

9.    In addition, we will strive to significantly increase technological and technology support to developing countries to facilitate the deployment and diffusion of clean technologies through a range of mechanisms.  We will work to facilitate and enable the transition to low-emission economies, climate resilience, and in particular, support, including through capacity building, for increasing the climate resilience of vulnerable economies.  We will also aim to develop cleaner, more affordable and renewable energy sources. We must explore global mechanisms through which those identified technologies can be disseminated as rapidly as possible.

10.    Ensuring the viability of states should underpin a shared vision for long-term cooperative action and a long-term global goal for emission reductions. In building towards an international agreement, all countries will need to play their part, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

11.    We need an ambitious mitigation outcome at Copenhagen to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change without compromising the legitimate development aspirations of developing countries.  We stress our common conviction that urgent and substantial action to reduce global emissions is needed and  have a range of views as to whether average global temperature increase should be constrained to below 1.5 degrees or to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We also recognise the need for an early peaking year for global emissions. Developed countries should continue to lead on cutting their emissions, and developing countries, in line with their national circumstances, should also take action to achieve a substantial deviation from business-as-usual emissions including with financial and technical support , and also supported by technology and capacity building.

12.    Progress towards predictable and adequate finance for adaptation and mitigation measures must be achieved in any new multilateral approach. Public and private financial resources for developing countries will need to be scaled up urgently and substantially by 2020. We recognise that adaptation finance in particular should be targeted towards the poorest and most vulnerable countries. The provision of finance should be additional to existing official development assistance commitments. In this respect, we acknowledge the potential role of the private sector and carbon markets.

13.    In addition, we recognise the need for an early start to the provision for financial resources.  Fast start funding, constituting grant funding, should provide substantial support for adaptation, REDD plus  and clean technology.  We welcomed the initiative to establish, as part of a comprehensive agreement, a Copenhagen Launch Fund starting in 2010 and building to a level of resources of $10 billion annually by 2012.

Fast start funding for adaptation should be focused on the most vulnerable countries. We also welcomed a proposal to provide immediate, fast disbursing assistance with a dedicated stream for small island states, and associated low-lying coastal states of AOSIS  of at least 10% of the fund.

We also recognise the need for further, specified and comparable funding streams, to assist the poorest and most vulnerable countries, to cope with, and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. We recognise that funding will be scaled up beyond 2012.

14.    We agree that an equitable governance structure to manage the financial and technological support must be put in place.  We agree that a future governance structure should provide for states to monitor and comply with arrangements entered under a new Copenhagen agreement.