CaribWorldNews, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Mon. November 30, 2009: Commonwealth leaders wrapped up their three-day summit in Port-Of-Spain Sunday by admitting Rwanda as a member and reiterating the need for a firm deal on climate change at the United Nations conference in Copenhagen, Denmark within three weeks.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who chaired the 21st Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), described the event as `a significant success`, a position also echoed by many of the leaders of the 54-nation grouping.
`What we have demonstrated is that diversity can easily be turned into strength,` Manning told the end of summit news conference.
Manning said the meeting had adopted six positions on various issues, including climate change, non-communicable diseases, a reaffirmation of the principles and values of the Commonwealth, as well as the involvement of young people in the organization.Commonwealth leaders said that fast start funding for adaptation of a deal on climate change should be focused on the most vulnerable countries and also welcomed a proposal to provide `immediate fast disbursing assistance with a dedicated system for small island states and associated low-lying coastal states of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) of at least 10 per cent of the fund.`
`We also recognize 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 recognize that funding will be scaled up beyond 2012,` the leaders said.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the fund represents a `bottom line to getting an agreement` on climate change in Copenhagen and promised that Wellington will provide 10 to 50 million dollars to the fund.
`The reality of climate change is that there will be a lot of movement to help islands affected by climate change,` Key said.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Thomas Somare said the meeting here allowed the voices of small and vulnerable countries to be heard on climate change.
`We need the world`s attention and this conference made it possible for our voice to be heard`, adding that the climate change declaration adopted here will further this in Copenhagen.
The next CHOGM will be held in Australia in 2011.