Monday, 31 December 2007

happy new year 2008

Celebrate the start of 2008
with spectacular New Years Eve fireworks in London, and best of all they're free, guaranteeing you see the New Year in with style.New Years Eve Fireworks in LondonWith Bonfire Night a fading memory there’s one last chance to see a spectacular fireworks display in London on New Years Eve. The skies of the capital will be alive with light and colour on 31st December 2007 with a grand fireworks display at the London Eye, promising something special for New Years Eve and the beginning of 2008.World class fireworks for a night to rememberThis year’s New Years Eve fireworks in London will be produced by the team responsible for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. As a result, the area around London Eye and along South Bank will be a vibrant place to see in 2008. The 2006 fireworks were even awarded the Public event of the Year 2006 at the Eventia UK Awards, just showing you how good these puppies are.Travel around town for freeThe crowds will be out in force but getting where you need to go shouldn’t be too much trouble on New Years Eve, rumour has it that there'll be free tube travel again from 11.45pm – 4.30am on New Years Day.The New Years Eve fireworks in London will take place at the London Eye, South Bank on 31st December 2007, and is due to begin shortly before midnight. The event is free to attend.

This blog and our TV program Swahili diaries on BEN TELEVISION sky 194 wishes all our well wishers and supporters a happy new year .Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters in kenya especially during this difficult and turbulent time of political transition.Stay blessed.Ayoub mzee

Monday, 31 December 2007
Kenyans riot over president's re-election - Haroon Siddique and agencies Monday December 31, 2007

The UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice on Kenya has been updated 31 December 2007 'This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary (continuing serious unrest).
The overall level of the advice has not changed.' Source:


CHOGM closing executive ceremony
Opening Ceremony, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Opening ceremony, Commonwealth Business Forum

'Transforming Societies, Changing Lives' is the title of the 2007 Report by the Commonwealth Secretary-General. The report is prepared biennially for Commonwealth Heads of Government, outlining the current work of the Commonwealth Secretariat and its vision for the future.
Download PDF
Transforming Societies, Changing Lives - Report of the Commonwealth Secretary-General 2007

Commonwealth Secretary-General condemns assassination of Benazir Bhutto
27 December 2007

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, has strongly condemned the killing of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi earlier today, and expressed his deep shock and sorrow. The following is the text of his statement:
“This is a heinous and cowardly act of violence, and an utterly senseless tragedy. My heart goes out to Ms Bhutto’s husband and children, to other members of the bereaved family, and to all her followers and admirers. On behalf of the Commonwealth, I convey my deepest sympathy at the loss they and the people of Pakistan have suffered. My condolences go also to the families of the many others killed in this attack.
This is a dark day for Pakistan and the Commonwealth. I strongly condemn this outrageous act. Violence can serve no useful purpose in any society, especially in one that is seeking to rebuild democracy and reconcile deep divisions. Such an act can only strengthen the hands of those who seek to repudiate the path of democracy and dialogue.
Benazir Bhutto was a woman of charisma and courage. Barely two months ago, on the very day of her return to Pakistan, she escaped narrowly in another appalling attack on her convoy, which claimed 150 innocent lives. She still pursued her political and public life, as she wanted to make a contribution to her country.
I hope that this terrible tragedy will make crystal clear the folly of violence and the importance of restraint and reconciliation as the only way of consolidating the democratic process. The Commonwealth stands by Pakistan in that effort.”
Note to Editors
On 22 November 2007, on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Pakistan was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth over “the serious violation of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values”.
The Commonwealth has pledged to remain closely engaged with Pakistan, as a valued member of the Commonwealth, in the restoration of democracy and the rule of law. It promised in Kampala to review progress following the conduct of scheduled parliamentary elections in January 2008. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group underlined its support for and solidarity with the people of Pakistan, “who have a right to enjoy the provisions and protections of its Constitution, with fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly, and the rule of law”.
For media inquiries, please contact Eduardo del Buey, Official Spokesperson and Director of Communications on telephone number +44(0)20 7747 6380 or by email:
ISSUED BY THE COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIVISIONCommonwealth Secretariat Marlborough House Pall Mall London SW1Y 5HX United KingdomTel: +44 (0)20 7747 6385/6 Fax: +44 (0)20 7839 9081 Email:

photo: Ayoub mzee
The Ghana president Kuafor Arriving at the closing ceremony retreat at CHOGM
New Year Honour for Commonwealth Secretary-General
31 December 2007
McKinnon receives New Zealand’s highest award
Rt Hon Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary-General, has been made a member of the Order of New Zealand, his country’s highest honour.
The award marks 30 years of public service to New Zealand, including the past eight years at the helm of the Commonwealth.
“I have had a fantastically interesting and inspiring time. The work is always demanding, occasionally it is frustrating but more often it is possible to make a real and positive difference to people’s lives,” Mr McKinnon said.
He added that during his eight years as Secretary-General, he had seen the very best and the very worst of what people can do to and for each other.
“I think the expression ‘humbled’ is usually employed when accepting an honour. For me the word was redefined on a visit to war torn Sierra Leone in 2001. At a rehabilitation camp, I was greeted by smiling children, from babies, toddlers, bright-eyed six and seven year-olds, to those a bit older.
“After my warm welcome they then offered a prayer for me -- this from children, all of whom were missing hands, arms, or their legs -- victims of frenzied violence in which their parents were also murdered. That is a truly humbling experience.
“I have encountered many acts of cruelty but even greater examples of courage among people from all parts of the Commonwealth. Sometimes it takes courage and nerve simply to continue working steadily in seemingly hopeless situations.”Mr McKinnon added that he wanted to share his honour with those who had worked with him to help others, including Presidents and Prime Ministers, his staff over the past 30 years, and NGO workers.
Mr McKinnon was a member of New Zealand’s Parliament from 1978 to 2000 and served as Foreign Minister from 1990 to 1999, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House.
He thanked his family for their support, especially his wife, Clare de Lore “who makes me laugh, and also keeps my feet on the ground.”


By Vision reporter and agencies

KENYA'S President Mwai Kibaki was last evening declared winner of a disputed election that triggered deadly riots by tens of thousands of opposition supporters. Pushing the stakes still higher, his opposition rival Raila Odinga rejected the results as rigged and announced an alternative inauguration for today in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park. To curb spreading chaos in a country known as a haven of stability in the region, the government sent trucks of police onto the streets and banned live TV transmissions. According to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), Kibaki won with 4,584,721 votes, while Odinga got 4,352,993. As smoke billowed from protests in Nairobi’s slums, Kibaki was sworn in on the lawn of State House just an hour after the result was announced, his hand on the Bible. The 76-year-old Kibaki urged Kenyans to put aside election “passions” and promised a corruption-free government to forge unity. “I urge all of us to set aside the divisive views and opinions we held during the campaign period, and instead embrace one another as brothers and sisters.” In a sharp contrast to the chaos and violence caused by the delay in releasing the results and allegations of fraud, Kibaki continued: “The freedom of choice, the openness and integrity of the electoral process, and the peaceful manner in which we conducted ourselves as people has raised Kenya’s democratic profile throughout the world.” Some Kibaki supporters celebrated in the streets. But they were quickly outnumbered by furious Odinga supporters. Nation Television reported that 10 people were killed in Kisii, in Odinga’s ethnic Luo homeland. Police shot into a crowd in Kisumu, killing another three people, residents said. A Reuters reporter was attacked in Kisumu. In Kibera, Nairobi’s biggest shantytown, witnesses said protesters burned shacks as they chanted pro-Odinga slogans. “There’s a lot of heat over here. People are out in their thousands,” Kibera resident Joshua Odutu said against a backdrop of gunshots, whistles and shouting. Earlier in the evening, the head of the electoral commission, Samuel Kivuitu, had to be escorted to safety by paramilitary police amid chaotic scenes at the main vote tallying centre. The chaos erupted when the release of the results of Molo constituency were immediately challenged by the returning officer, who claimed the number of votes for Kibaki had been inflated by 20,000. At a subsequent press conference, an official of the Electoral Commission stunned the media when he declared there had been “shameless, blatant and open alterations” of the presidential results at the commission’s headquarters. Results in his constituencies in Coastal Province and Upper Eastern had been inflated by up to 20,000 votes in favour of Kibaki, he said. Calling the electoral commissioners “Kibaki cronies”, Odinga estimated the extent of rigging at 300,000 votes. “One wonders why Kibaki called these elections if he wanted to continue and rule by decree”, Odinga told journalists. “Kenyans will not accept the results of a rigged election. Nothing will prevent the people of Kenya from achieving what they want.” His party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), said it was planning its own alternative inauguration ceremony of its leader at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park. “We are inviting Kenyans to Uhuru Park, Monday at 2:00pm for the presentation to the nation of the people’s President, elected Honourable Raila Amolo Odinga,” the party said in a statement. Chief European Union observer Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said doubts remained about the accuracy of the final count. “We believe that, at this time, the Electoral Commission, despite the best efforts of its chairman, has not succeeded in establishing the credibility of the tallying process to the satisfaction of all parties and candidates,” he said in a statement. “We regret that it has not been possible to address irregularities about which both the EU and the ECK have evidence. Some doubt remains as to the accuracy of the result of the presidential election as announced today (Sunday).” Britain has expressed concern over the reported irregularities. “We have real concerns at the irregularities reported by the EU observers and others,” said Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a statement. “We call on all Kenya’s political leaders and democratic institutions to work together to address those concerns...” Britain looked forward to working with a “legitimately elected government of Kenya, which commands the support of the Kenyan people.” The election was a pivotal moment for Kenya and its outcome had to be seen by Kenyans to be fair, Miliband said. Violence that had marred the election must not be repeated, he said, urging all sides to “pursue their disputes peacefully through dialogue and the appeals process.” Business leaders said the riots were costing over $30 million a day in lost taxes, not to mention looting damage, and threatened investment and tourism in Kenya. The few supermarkets and food shops that opened in Nairobi yesterday were packed with nervous customers. Shelves of meat, milk, beer, bottled water and other provisions emptied fast. Reactions Koki Muli, Institute of Education in Democracy “This is the saddest day in the history of democracy in this country. It is a coup d’etat. It is not about who wins, it is about the legitimacy and the credibility of the process.” Alexander Lambsdorff, head of EU observers “We regret that it has not been possible to address irregularities about which both the EU and the ECK have evidence... some doubt remains as to the accuracy of the result of the presidential election as announced today.” George Ogola, UK-based political analyst “The voting was fine but the tallying was a bit suspect. The ECK did not handle the situation in the best possible way. They were under pressure from both sides. The post-election parliament needs to look into the independence of the ECK. I don’t think Raila will concede defeat in the short term.” Robert Shaw, economic analyst and businessman “From all the evidence there is, the presidential poll was very flawed and there is no real confirmation that Kibaki is the winner. We are in for a period of violence and turbulence, without doubt.” Mwalimu Mati, Anti-Corruption Mars Group “If the president wanted to have himself announced as president, he should have done that five months ago. He has no right, legal or constitutional, to accept a verdict that says he is president when he knows very, very, very well that he has actually lost the election.” Razia Khan – Africa economist, Standard Chartered Bank “Given the controversy that accompanied the announcement of results by the Electoral Commission of Kenya, and the outbreak of unrest, a relief rally by markets is unlikely. Near term, if the unrest does not subside, the Kenya shilling is likely to come under pressure. Colin Bruce – Country Director World Bank “The results are a very forceful appeal to the government to strengthen programmes that directly benefit the poor in areas such as education, health and employment; continue sound private sector-led growth policies; and massively scale up the fight against corruption.”

Sunday, 30 December 2007

kenya elections


29th December 2007

Official Preliminary Statement by the COMESA Electoral Observer Mission on the 2007 General Elections for the Republic of Kenya


Following the launch and deployment of an Electoral Observer Mission to the 2007 General Elections for the Republic of Kenya by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the COMESA Electoral Observer Mission would like to issue a preliminary Statement on the findings of its mission. Its findings cover the Pre–Election Period, Polling Day and Post Election Period covering the period after the polling date to date.

In line with the commitment that the Republic of Kenya and other COMESA Member States made under Article 6 of the Treaty of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to promote Democracy and the rule of law within the COMESA Region, the COMESA Electoral Observer Mission would like to restate the following principles under which it was deployed:

(a) a sign of solidarity of the people of the COMESA Region with their brothers and sisters in the Republic of Kenya as they reaffirm their commitment to democratic system of governance;
(b) a contribution of the people of the COMESA Region to the transparency of the Electoral Process.
(c) the belief that a democratic Republic of Kenya is an environment in which each and every citizen of Kenya can exercise his or her rights to effectively exploit the opportunities in the COMESA Region for the eradication of poverty and wealth creation;
(d) the conviction that a democratic Kenya is conducive for foreign and domestic investment; that will translate into economic benefits for her people through employment opportunities and technology transfer;
(e) the belief that the lack of democracy is the root causes of conflict, and that credible and legitimate democratic elections are a foundation to sustainable peace, security and stability.

In summary, the COMESA Economic Integration Agenda was launched on the belief that the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in the region was the foundation for the successful attainment of the objectives of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Composition of the Mission
As indicated in our statement at the official launch of the Mission earlier in the week, our mission is composed of Eminent Men and women from the following COMESA Member States:

(a) Ethiopia,
(b) Malawi,
(c) Rwanda,
(d) Sudan,
(e) Zimbabwe and
(f) Zambia.

Our Observers are divided into two categories namely:
(a) Short Term Observers – who will leave in a few day’s time and
(b) Long term Observers – who are based in the country and shall continue to observe the electoral process until its conclusion.

The Mission was deployed in 7 of the eight provinces of the country namely:
(a) Central province,
(b) Coastal province
(c) Eastern province
(d) Nairobi
(e) Nyanza province
(f) Rift Province
(g) Western province

We would like to underline that while the Mission would have liked to have covered all provinces of the country, it was unable to do so due to logistical and financial constraints. However, our partnership with other observer missions has allowed us to have a global picture of the process.

In line with the Universal Declaration of Principles of Democratic Elections the Mission discharged its mandate within the electoral legal framework of the Republic of Kenya. The Mission used a statistical methodology for aggregation of observation of all polling stations visited by the observers. The Observer team regularly communicated and held team debriefings throughout the observation period to enable a compilation of this preliminary report.

Meetings with Stakeholders
The observers held meetings with a cross section of the leadership of political parties and candidates participating in the Electoral Process which included the ruling party and opposition political parties, candidates or their representatives, civil society organizations, other stakeholders such as religious organizations and cooperating partners such as the East African Community, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Diplomatic Community Observers in Kenya and national observers. The Observers also attended several briefings held by Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

Political Campaign
In addition to having meetings with stakeholders and receiving briefings from Electoral Authorities, observers also attended political campaign rallies and reviewed various media and other reports.

General Observations on Pre Election Period
The Mission observed that the 2007 parliamentary General Elections of the Republic of Kenya have been held under the following conditions:
(a) an environment of relative peace;
(b) localized intra-party and inter-party violence in certain constituencies;
(c) an atmosphere of suspicions of possible vote rigging;
(d) variations in the state of preparedness of all the political parties as a result of internal political structural dynamics;
(e) unequal allocation of airtime to political parties and candidates in the public media;
(f) intimidation of rival candidates and supporters by all parties in certain parts of the country;
(g) allegations of use of public funds for campaigns by the ruling party in certain regions.

Having noted the aforementioned conditions some of which have not yet been verified by the Mission, the mission evaluated the alleged irregularities within the national legal framework and noted the following:
(a) the Kenyan electoral legal framework provides for redress of electoral grievances such as irregularities identified by all political parties, the civil society and all stakeholders;
(b) stakeholders that raised complaints in respect of alleged irregularities and violence sought redress from the Electoral Commission of Kenya, which through its Code of Conduct Committee and Peace Committees responded by setting up tribunals which gave rulings and imposed punitive measures on culprits.
(c) the criminal justice system in the country is addressing those issues that go beyond the realm and mandate of the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

Evaluation of the Polling Day
Voter Turnout
Voter turnout in the country was high.

Voting Process
(a) Observation of the Opening of Polling Stations
The Mission observed that many polling stations opened later than the official opening time due to various reasons some of which have not yet been verified by the Mission. The Mission observed that generally the lost time was equally compensated for as required by the national electoral process in most cases. However the Mission noted with concern that in some polling centres where there was need to compensate time in accordance with the legal framework, the same was no done.
However, correct procedures on the opening of the polling stations were strictly adhered to.

(b) Observation of Polling Operations
With regard to polling operations, the Mission noted the following:
(i) Polling stations allowed easy access to voters, observers and monitors/party agents and, to a large extent guaranteed secrecy of the vote whilst ensuring security of election staff and material;
(ii) The Mission did not witness or observe any form of intimidation of voters inside or outside the polling stations;
(iii) Law and order were observed generally in the polling centres in the country. Therefore, the presence of security personnel was limited to keeping of law and order without interfering in the polling process;
(iv) Voting procedures such as checks on voters cards, verification of voters in the voters register and the application of indelible ink on voters were strictly adhered to;
(v) Where voter identification problems occurred, electoral officials handled such cases in a manner that ensured that voters with valid documentation were accorded the right to vote;
(vi) In some cases campaign materials were observed within the prohibited radius of the polling Centres;
(vii) The Mission also noted with concern that the practice of interviewing political leaders within the perimeters of the polling stations, after they had voted created the environment of breaching electoral law in terms of campaigning during the prohibited period;
(viii) Agents of political parties and candidates were allowed to monitor the process;
(ix) Except in a few cases most voters had good understanding of voting procedures and those who needed assistance were assisted in a courteous and professional manner.

Postponed Elections
The Mission has noted that in a few Polling Centers, voting for civic candidates has had to be postponed as a result of various issues such as some of the ballot papers not having some candidate’s names or a mix up of party symbols. The Mission takes note of the advice by the Electoral Commission of Kenya that new dates for the postponed polling shall be set before next Tuesday.

Observation of Closing and Counting Operations
The mission also observed closing and Counting Operations at a number of polling stations and noted the following among other issues:
(i) Electoral Officials had good knowledge of rules of procedure on counting and closing operations and adhered to the law meticulously.
(ii) Party and candidates agents and Observers were allowed to monitor and observe the closing, counting and result data entry procedures;
(iii) The Mission however noted that while the above process was necessary it inevitably led to delay in the releasing of results.

(c) Capacity of Polling Staff
The Mission observed that overall, polling station staff displayed sufficient knowledge of the electoral law and procedures and handled complex situations in a professional manner.

(d) Participation of Women
The Mission noted that women as electoral officials were adequately represented and in certain polling stations they had a presence of up to about 90%.

Overall Assessment
Before the Mission makes its final preliminary assessment of the Electoral Process, the mission would like to underscore the following:
(i) the objective of the observation was not to observe “perfection” or a model process;
(ii) the objective of our mission was not to pass judgment on the electoral process or validate the electoral process as a whole;
(iii) genuine democratic elections are an expression of sovereignty, which in this case belongs to the people of Kenya, whose free expression of will provide the authority and legitimacy;

Looking at the country as a whole and taking into consideration the foregoing the Mission has come to the conclusion that the 2007 General Elections for the Republic of Kenya took place, in an environment of relative peace, and the few localized incidences of violence referred to earlier did not compromise the integrity of the votes cast. In short, the process took place in an environment, which was transparent and secure enough to guarantee the freedom of the vote and respect of the voters will.

We would however, like to state that this assessment relates to the conduct of elections up to collation of results. However, the Mission notes with concern the slow process of collating the national results which has led to heightened tension in several parts of the country. The Mission commends the ECK for the frequent briefings which are meant to up-date and clarify the situation.

The Mission would like to specifically commend the Presidential candidates who have prevailed upon their cadres to avoid taking actions that would jeopardise peace and security, and would urge them to maintain the same patience until the final results are announced.

The COMESA Electoral Observer Mission noted with regret that several Kenyans have lost lives in this electoral process and would like to express their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and the entire nation of Kenya.

The Mission is aware that the electoral process is still going on and would like to call upon the people of Kenya to maintain peace and security as the counting and tabulation of results goes on. The Mission further calls on all aggrieved parties with the electoral process to address their grievances through appropriate legal channels in a peaceful manner. Knowing that democracy is a process and not an event, the Mission would also like to call on the peoples of the Republic of Kenya, the COMESA Region and cooperating partners to continue working together to consolidate the democratic system of governance that the Republic of Kenya is committed to under its own constitution as well as the COMESA Treaty and other regional and international instruments.

Lastly, the Mission would like to congratulate the people of Kenya for turning up in large number to express their will, and the ECK for the able manner in which they handled the mammoth national task. The Mission also wishes to express its profound gratitude to the people of Kenya for the warm hospitality that is being accorded to the Mission as it continues observing the process until the announcement of the final results. The Mission shall prepare a detailed report of its observations which shall be submitted to the people of Kenya through the ECK.

The Mission would also like to express its appreciation to all COMESA Member States for showing solidarity with the people of the Republic of Kenya in reaffirming their commitment to democratic system of governance. Special tribute is paid to the COMESA Member States that contributed personnel to the Mission.

Ambassador Lovemore Mazemo
Mission Leader- COMESA

For further information please contact
Mr. Brian Chigawa +254 721 270797
Mr. Mweusi Karake +254 727 730432

Saturday, 29 December 2007

happy new yaer

Photo: Ayoub mzee
The Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete arrives at the Retreat resort -Munyonyo for the closing ceremony of CHOGM AND BELOW IS Nigerian head of state H.E OMAR YARDUA

Tuesday, 25 December 2007



1 We, the representatives of civil society organisations from across the Commonwealth,
meeting in Kampala, Uganda, from 18-22 November 2007 present the Kampala Civil
Society Statement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,
Commonwealth Member States, and Commonwealth Institutions, which has emerged
from consultations with civil society and the Commonwealth People’s Forum 2007:
Realising People’s Potential.
2 We, the Peoples of the Commonwealth commit to work with governments and the
Commonwealth to fulfil the development agenda outlined in the Kampala Civil Society
Statement and to respond constructively and energetically to invitations to form
partnerships to bring about social transformation in the Commonwealth.
3 Welcoming the theme of the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(CHOGM) on Transforming Commonwealth Societies to Achieve Political, Economic and
Human Development.
4 Stressing that transformation is about fundamental change: it is about asking hard
questions on how we govern ourselves and organise our societies; it is about being
willing to tackle and reform structures that create imbalances in power and unequal
access to socio-economic opportunities. Efforts towards societal transformation can be
eroded if the interconnected issues that determine political, economic and human
development are not addressed adequately. Transformation requires the active
participation and commitment of all members of society.
5 Reaffirming and recommitting to the CHOGM 2002 endorsement of “a Commonwealth
known, owned and valued by its peoples, responsive to their evolving needs, and
invigorated by a more focused and productive partnership between governments and
civil society1.”
1 1 Report by the Commonwealth High Level Review Group to Commonwealth Heads of Government.
Adopted by Heads of Government, Coolum, Australia, 3 March 2002.
6 Reiterating the views expressed by Commonwealth civil society organisations in the
Communiqué adopted at the third Commonwealth People’s Centre held in Durban,
South Africa, in 1999, who stated that “a joint enterprise between elected governments,
their citizens and their organisations is urgently required to meet global development
needs. Governance further entails, especially, the State sharing with civil society the
responsibility for policy making and implementation, and all partners being accountable
to their constituencies, to each other and to the society as a whole.”
7 Stressing the importance of exchanges, partnerships and links across the
Commonwealth, between civil society bodies, communities and professional institutions,
for the purpose of sharing experiences and learning from one another, thereby
strengthening governance, contributing to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
and building peace, prosperity and well-being.
8 Noting that in order to effect social development political leaders need to strengthen
and expand partnerships with civil society in the policy-making process. Civil society
leaders are rising to the challenge of developing exemplary professionalism, good
governance and leadership in representing the views of citizens across the
Commonwealth and beyond. An enabling policy framework needs to be put in place and
resources identified so that political and civil society leaders can work more closely and
consistently together to improve the lives of Commonwealth citizens. In undertaking this
role, the leadership and professional development of civil society should be enhanced.
9 Reaffirming and underscoring the importance of the Commonwealth’s stated
commitment to internationally-agreed human rights, including the right to: life, liberty and
security of person; health, education and an adequate standard of living; freedom from
discrimination; freedom of expression, association and participation; rule of law; and an
international and social order in which these rights can be met.
10 Congratulating the Commission on Respect and Understanding and endorsing their
report ‘Civil Paths to Peace’.
11 Reiterating the views expressed by Commonwealth civil society organisations in
Abuja, Nigeria, 2003, who called for “a just and secure world, based on: respect for the
universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights; sustainable development
based on recognition of human rights and the integrity of the environment on which
human beings depend for the realisation of their rights; and the principles of
transparency, accountability, inclusive governance and multilateralism.”
12 Recognising the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the report of the World
Commission on Environment and Development, entitled Our Common Future, which
popularised the concept of sustainable development, as development that “meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
own needs.”
13 Reaffirming the importance of sustainable development, in particular its emphasis on
equity and justice, between and within generations, and the responsibility to act
14 Recognising the essential role of civil society organisations, not only in the delivery of
programmes, but also in their design, monitoring and evaluation.
15 Noting with deep concern that at the midpoint between the adoption of the Millennium
Declaration and the 2015 end-date for arresting poverty and underdevelopment, the
Commonwealth Secretary-General reports that: 27 million people in the Commonwealth
carry the HIV/AIDS virus; 70 million of the world’s unschooled children are in the
Commonwealth; 800 million Commonwealth citizens live on less than a dollar a day;
over 327 million people, or almost one in six Commonwealth citizens, live in slums; and
that of the estimated 300,000 maternal deaths in the Commonwealth each year, most
could have been avoided by relatively inexpensive health care2;
16 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. reinvigorate action towards meeting the MDGs, including through the
establishment of interim targets for those Member States that have not
already done so; and
b. publish a biennial stock-taking of progress towards attaining the MDGs for all
Commonwealth Member States.
17 Reaffirming support for the Coolum CHOGM commitment to “work to eliminate
poverty, to promote people-centred and sustainable development and thus progressively
to remove the wide disparities in living standards among us.”
18 Recognising that 2007 is a historic year since, for the first time, there will be more
people in cities than in rural areas. This transition and the daily 65,000 increase in the
population of Commonwealth urban areas, together with the urbanisation of poverty and
the threats from climate change add urgency to the commitment given at Coolum. There
can be no sustainable development without sustainable urbanisation.
19 Congratulating the Commonwealth Consultative Group on Human Settlements for its
recognition that the Commonwealth is well placed to take action on the Habitat Agenda
and sustainable development, and for its continued support for the Commonwealth goal
of “demonstrated progress towards adequate shelter for all with secure tenure and
access to essential services in every community by 2015.”
20 We call on Commonwealth Member States, and the Commonwealth Consultative
Group on Human Settlements to produce a ‘State of the Commonwealth’s Cities’ report
for the next CHOGM, which would assess opportunities and threats of urban growth in
relationto poverty alleviation, sustainable and people-centred development and reducing
disparities in living conditions, and would recommend inter-governmental actions.
2 2 Commonwealth Secretariat 2007: Report of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Transforming Lives-
Changing Societies
21 Welcoming the recognition and identification by Member States that addressing
climate change is a key issue for CHOGM 2007;
22 Underscoring the importance of industrialised countries in fulfilling their legal
obligations as signatories of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC), to reduce their domestic emissions, and to provide financial and
technological support for developing countries to shift quickly to a low-carbon
development path, and to meet the basic human needs of their populations;
23 Expressing continued concern with the refusal of any Commonwealth Member State
to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and to adopt emissions-reduction targets;
24 Stressing that the dangers of climate change are clearer now than ever before, and
decisions to be made at the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit to be held from 3-14
December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia, and subsequent related processes will be crucial in
deciding the fate of millions of people, including many in developing countries and small
states who will be among those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change;
25 Noting the urgency in creating a solid foundation at the Bali Summit to culminate in
an equitable and effective agreement on the climate change regime beyond 2012;
26 Highlighting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change3
and Stern Review4
have provided strong evidence that Member States are already being affected by the
impacts of climate change, and have warned of far-reaching impacts on people,
economies, the environment and international relations;
27 Recognising that action to address climate change must also contribute to removal of
the wide disparities in living standards among us, and lead to transformation through
creating new economic opportunities, more sustainable arrangements for land use and
transport, and adequate shelter for all;
28 Stressing that failure to address climate change will have far-reaching ramifications,
even threatening the survival of small island states, particularly in the Pacific, Caribbean
and Indian Ocean States;
29 Underscoring that urgent action on climate change is essential to the realisation of
the MDGs and addressing climate change requires concerted effort from all levels of
government in partnership with civil society that plan and implement adaptation, disaster
preparedness and mitigation strategies;
30 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. ratify and implement their legal obligations as contained in the UNFCCC and
Kyoto Protocol;
b. commit to negotiate a Road Map at the UN Climate Summit in Bali for a fair,
effective, flexible and inclusive post-2012 climate regime by no later than
3 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report 2007. Report of IPCC Working Group I-”The Physical Science Basis”
4 4 Stern Review. 2007. Report on the Economics of Climate Change
c. endorse the following as key elements of a post-2012 regime; namely
i. decisive quantified emission reduction targets for all developed
countries under the Kyoto Protocol, including monitoring of
ii. incentives for enhanced mitigation action by developing countries
including through enhanced carbon trading;
iii. technology development, diffusion and commercialisation; and
iv. securing the scale of resources required to address climate change.
d. establish a High-Level Commonwealth Commission, with civil society
participation, to examine the challenges of climate change and to identify
strategies, for inter alia:
i. addressing the impacts of climate change on Commonwealth Small
ii. disaster risk reduction strategies and support;
iii. employment transition to a more sustainable economy; and
iv. local-level climate change strategies.
e. establish measures and finance to support developing countries in adapting
to the impacts of climate change, in particular through a Commonwealth
Climate Change Adaptation Fund to facilitate adaptation measures and
technologies accessible by all sectors, with special attention to the needs of
the poor.
31 Noting that financing for development remains a fundamental challenge to the
achievement of transformation. Aid commitments made at the G-8 Gleneagles Summit in
2005 have not been fully implemented. The MDGs are themselves only partial
responses to fundamental needs, yet to achieve them by 2015 we must take a
fundamentally different approach to financing development;
32 Noting slow progress by three of the four major Commonwealth donor countries to
achieve the target of 0.7% GNP5;
33 Stressing that policies that encourage developing countries to keep investment at
home, to mobilise domestic as well as international resources and to receive quality,
predictable and sustainable overseas development assistance (ODA), are urgently
34 Stressing the significant opportunities provided in 2008 to enhance resources for
development, notably the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in
Accra, Ghana, and the United Nations (UN) Follow-up to the International Conference on
Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus
to be held in Doha, Qatar;
35 Considering that the above (UN Doha Conference Follow-up to the International
Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the
5 United Nations.1970: International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development
Decade, UN General Assembly Resolution 2626 (XXV), October 24, paragraph. 43
Monterrey Consensus process and Conference) will fail unless it deals with the use of
development funds to meet the international agreed development goals, including those
outlined in the Millennium Declaration, with equity and sustainability in societies and
36 Noting that the work of the Leading Group on Solidarity Levies to Fund Development
needs to avoid simply adding funds to existing inadequate channels, and should pioneer
delivery of additional, predictable and sustainable resources in ways which are
transparent and open to the advice and evaluation of civil society;
37 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. assert the commitment of all industrialised countries to meet the UN aid target
of 0.7% GNP and to review and monitor progress towards that target every
two years6;
b. increase collaboration between Commonwealth agencies, governments and
civil society partners to secure additional resources for development during
the Monterrey follow-up in Doha in 2008;
c. collaborate to develop and mobilise innovative sources of finance, including
through airline levies, development of currency transaction taxes, and carbon
d. form a joint Commonwealth/Civil Society Working Group to explore and
develop recommendations for innovative responses to resource needs related
to the Accra and Doha conferences and strategies for their achievement;
e. support developing country Member States in reducing donor dependence
and domestic mobilisation of resources (‘starting inside’), and implementing
measures to retain resources at home and recapture resources that have
taken flight to other countries;
f. mandate the establishment of a regular Commonwealth monitoring report,
that examines and makes public the flows of funds from ‘South’ to ‘North’,
including banking of funds from executive corruption, making clear both the
source and the destination;
g. make a clear commitment regarding the transparency and accessibility of
records of all public funds, receipts and expenditures;
h. ensure priority to the development of domestic initiatives, investment and
entrepreneurs, and reject international agreements which privilege foreign
direct and/or portfolio investment; and
i. develop programmes of access to credit, facilitation of licensing and other
measures which will encourage the development of domestic entrepreneurs
and domestic markets.
38 We call on the Commonwealth Foundation to encourage the creation, at the national
level, in interested Commonwealth Member States, of civil society monitoring tools which
trace the use of public funds.
6 United Nations.1970: International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development
Decade, UN General Assembly Resolution 2626 (XXV), October 24, paragraph. 43
39 Recognising that scientific knowledge and technological innovation, and their
application through professional skills, are central to transformation, including efforts to
combat climate change, achieve sustainable development and eliminate poverty;
40 Recognising that increasing energy costs will have differential impacts that will
disadvantage countries, remote and rural regions and settlements, and markets where
transport costs are already high;
41 Urging caution at the over-optimistic prognosis regarding the application of clean
coal, and carbon capture and sequestration technologies as solutions to climate change;
42 Expressing concern that investments by developing countries in renewable energy
technologies remain secondary and are hindered by investments in new nuclear
43 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. invest in science and technology and professional skills to support the
transformation of energy supplies in Commonwealth Member States to an
ecologically sound model focused on renewables and energy efficiency, and
to deliver more energy-efficient forms of urbanisation;
b. develop creative financing and investment arrangements for decentralised
renewable technology;
c. implement measures to promote energy efficiency;
d. apply ecological, sustainability and food security criteria in the development of
biofuels and in the type of biofuel to be utilised;
e. give support to affordable energy for rural populations in order for them to
avoid environmental destruction through the use of fuelwood;
f. ensure that every energy project, small or large, incorporates gender
mainstreaming with a budget designed to build in gender equality;
g. achieve distributional justice and equity of access in all energy developments;
h. renew support for education, particularly instruction in, and, practical use of
renewable energy, especially using locally available sources, such as waste;
i. integrate oil and alternative energy policies into natural disaster risk reduction,
as well as town and country planning to mitigate urbanisation challenges; and
j. prioritise the use of increasingly scarce oil resources for the most critical
needs of their society and for future generations.
44 Underscoring the importance of ensuring the sustainable utilisation of marine, coastal
and freshwater resources;
45 Believing that because the impacts of over-fishing and environmental change will be
devastating to populations dependent on fisheries for food and livelihood security,
effective fisheries management in Commonwealth Member States is essential to deliver
economic and social benefits;
46 We call on Commonwealth Member States and Commonwealth Institutions to:
a. implement the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation target for developing
integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans , and
stress the need to increase support to, and monitor and evaluate the
implementation of, partnerships in this regard;
b. support the engagement of educational and research institutions, as well as
professional associations and other civil society organisations, in efforts to
develop and implement integrated natural resource management plans and
programmes in coastal zones through participatory planning;
c. recognise the global decline in fish stocks and that fisheries are fundamental
to the economies of many Commonwealth Member States, in particular Small
States, and take urgent steps to put both marine and inland fisheries on a
sustainable footing; and
d. establish, where appropriate, international coordinating authorities for the
management of international shallow sea, lake and river basins.
47 Noting that education is a fundamental human right and key to social transformation,
poverty alleviation, as well as justice and equity, particularly gender equity, which are
among the Commonwealth values.
48 Acknowledging that progress in education depends on cooperation across sectors
and partnerships between civil society, governments and inter-governmental
organisations, particularly in addressing the key issues of gender equity and cultural
49 Underscoring the importance of addressing access to, and quality of, education in
countries affected by conflict;
50 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. endorse and implement the recommendations contained in the Message from
Commonwealth Education Ministers at their Conference held from 11-14
December 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa;
b. recognise the role that education must play in securing attainment of all the
c. reaffirm their commitment to achieving the MDGs for education with their
focus on access, primary school completion and gender equity while placing
these within the more inclusive Education for All (EFA) framework, approved
at Dakar in 2000;
d. respond to the call by Commonwealth Education Ministers to adopt a holistic
approach to education development, acknowledging the part that education
institutions beyond the primary level can play both in supporting EFA and also
carrying forward the wider socio-economic transformation agenda. Such an
approach requires increased investment in affordable education and training
provision through secondary, technical, vocational, and other tertiary-level
institutions, as well as in literacy and non-formal education programmes;
e. exploit the role that new technologies, including information and
communications technology, as well as open learning can play in extending
education opportunity, improving its quality and developing skills;
f. adopt more proactive measures to address inclusion of the socially,
economically and culturally marginalised;
g. request Commonwealth Ministers of Education to report on ways in which
education systems can contribute to creating a culture of peace, tolerance,
mutual respect and other key Commonwealth values;
h. increase support for educational and cultural interchange in the
Commonwealth for the purposes of exchanging development-relevant
experience and promoting understanding, including school and college linking
and scholarship programmes;
i. use, strengthen and develop the extensive infrastructure for Commonwealth
education co-operation; and
j. use the fiftieth anniversary, in 2009, of the first Commonwealth Education
Conference to review the experience of Commonwealth educational
cooperation in the last half century.
51 Noting with concern the lack of progress towards meeting the health-related MDGs;
52 Regretting that without a radical renewal of commitment, at the MDG mid-point, many
countries will fail to meet the 2015 and interim targets especially as slum growth is
increasing the numbers of vulnerable people. Looking beyond the MDGs, there is need
for a greater emphasis on health promotion in relation to the prevention of chronic
disease conditions and the provision of palliative care;
53 Underscoring that maternal mortality rates remain unacceptably high in the rapidly
growing urban slums notably in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia;
54 Acknowledging that although child mortality has declined globally, the pace of
progress has been uneven and this underscores the need for improvements to basic
healthcare services;
55 Noting that conflict always increases the incidence of disease, injury and death, while
obstructing the enhancement of health systems and diverting essential resources away
from health provision;
56 Recognising that in order to achieve the MDGs the Commonwealth requires an
additional two million health workers;
57 Underscoring the importance of Commonwealth Member States becoming selfsufficient
in their health workforces in order to deal with the chronic drain of trained
personnel from poor to rich countries inside and outside the Commonwealth family;
58 Highlighting that the current operation of trade, investment and intellectual property
agreements present considerable challenges to achieving the right to health and
increasing the costs of providing treatment considerably;
59 Noting that meeting the MDGs will not be possible without dramatically increased
investment unhindered by policies and conditionalities that restrict investment in health,
personnel and education such as those that have in the past been imposed by the
International Monetary Fund;
60 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. commit and strengthen health systems that are progressively financed,
inclusive and equitable;
b. commit that public primary health care be designed with “health for all” as its
fundamental objective, providing access to care according to need;
c. increase emphasis on access to reproductive health services including better
access to antenatal and post-natal care;
d. support the World Health Organization’s ‘treat, train and retain’ initiative; and
e. fully implement the Commonwealth Code of Practice on the International
Recruitment of Health Workers7; and
f. improve the disposal and destruction of medical waste to avoid
61 Noting with concern that the 53 Member States, within which 30% of the world’s
population live, also carry a disproportionate 60% of the global burden of HIV and AIDS;
62 Concerned that despite the international priority accorded to HIV and AIDS, the rights
and needs of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS are still at the
bottom of the global HIV and AIDS agenda;
63 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. implement the international commitment to universal access to treatment by
b. support and intensify efforts to develop an HIV and AIDS vaccine;
c. scale up resources to ensure access to anti-retroviral drugs and testing
d. ensure the availability of adequate funds for HIV and AIDS prevention
education and other related interventions including research on new
prevention technologies (microbicides and vaccines).
e. earmark an appropriate level of total HIV and AIDS funding for children
orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS and implement National
Plans of Action;
f. adopt and follow the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Code of
Conduct on HIV and AIDS by 2013;
g. adopt legislation to protect HIV-positive people from discrimination; and
h. expand the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful, and Condoms) strategy to SAVE
(Safer practices, Access to treatment and nutrition, Voluntary counselling and
testing and Empowerment) approach which is more inclusive and
64 Emphasising the importance of mainstreaming and recognising disability as an
integral part of relevant strategies for sustainable development;
7 Adopted by Commonwealth Ministers of Health in 2003
65 We call on Commonwealth Member States to ratify and implement the UN
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and its Optional Protocol, and adopt
disability inclusive policies.8
66 Noting that in many Commonwealth Member States, there is a lack of integrated
planning in both urban and rural areas, and sanitation laws and policies are weak and
not enforced. Furthermore, climate change is having significant impact on access to
potable water;
67 Expressing concern that if the current global trends continue neither the water nor
that sanitation target is likely to be met by 2015;
68 We call on Commonwealth Member States to recommit efforts and resources to meet
the agreed MDG water and sanitation targets, as a key intervention to support the 2008
United Nations International Year of Sanitation (IYS) and the UN Action Plan for the IYS.
69 Highlighting that science, technology, and innovation are among the most powerful
tools for meeting the internationally agreed development goals, and that such tools can
make productive resources—natural resources, human resources, and physical capital
—more potent contributors to the transformation of societies;
70 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. renew and strengthen their commitment to Commonwealth co-operation and
partnership through establishing a science and technology innovation unit at
the Commonwealth Secretariat, charged with the task, among others, of
harnessing appropriate knowledge and experiences based on science,
technology and innovation for addressing emerging developmental
challenges and of establishing a Commonwealth science knowledge and
technology innovation network to facilitate dialogue between policy-makers
and innovation support practitioners; and
b. assist the least developed Member States to attain the essential pre-requisite
level of 1% of gross domestic product to research and development in
science and technology expenditure on science and technology innovation, to
successfully address and attain the MDGs, particularly with respect to poverty
reduction and also to address the challenges of environmental sustainability
including climate change.
71 Expressing concern regarding current negotiations on Economic Partnership
Agreements (EPAs) and accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), in particular
negative tactics and threatening behaviour by developed countries that are undermining
the possibilities of fair negotiations, true partnership and sustainable transformation;
72 Urging that trade negotiations be carried forward on a principled, participatory and
transparent basis with clear priority on sustainable development imperatives, especially
8 Memorandum to CHOGM; Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference, 4-7 November, 2007, Uganda,
poverty reduction and equity, job creation and decent work, mitigation of and adaptation
to climate change, while addressing the negative effects of past neo-liberal policies.
Negotiations should take the time necessary to meet these concerns;
73 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. ensure access and transparency for all stakeholders, including
parliamentarians and civil society, in all trade, investment and intellectual
property negotiations at multilateral, regional and bilateral levels;
b. ensure that EPAs do not undermine the financial resources of developing
country governments, i.e. if liberalisation threatens revenues, clear and
sustainable alternative sources should be specified and committed before
c. ensure that EPAs embody a commitment to the priority of human rights,
particularly the right to health, i.e. no provisions should prioritise the privileges
of intellectual property over the right to health and access to essential
d. ensure that EPAs have clear provisions for comprehensive monitoring within
benchmarks based on development objectives with sustained participation of
civil society and other stakeholders; and
e. establish a monitoring body to analyse the effects of the WTO on
Commonwealth countries and develop a strategy to mitigate negative
economic and employment impacts.
74 Expressing the view that transformation initiatives and policies must be underpinned
by observance and adherence to fundamental human rights;
75 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. review the mandate of Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)
regarding the inclusion of all serious and/or persistent human rights violations;
b. develop better mechanisms to ensure institutional memory within the CMAG;
c. develop clear indicators to decide when a country benefiting from the
Commonwealth Secretary-General’s good offices should be put on the
agenda of the CMAG;
d. formalise systems for the engagement and participation of CSOs, including a
human rights component;
e. ensure that the composition of CMAG is independently reviewed to
strengthen its independence from political interests or alliances; and
f. ensure that reports highlighting negative practices, such as human rights
abuses and violations in Commonwealth Member States are automatically
placed on the CMAG agenda for consideration, and that a strong link is
forged between the reports and action taken.
76 Noting with deep concern shrinking of the operational space of civil society,
especially in the context of the international efforts to counter terrorism;
77 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. strengthen peoples’ access to decision making processes by increased
dialogue, collaboration and participation of civil society at all levels of the
decision making process;
b. institutionalise the participation of women in decision making in the first
instance by achieving targets set out in the Beijing Platform for Action and the
Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality9;
c. enact and implement freedom of information legislation with an emphasis on
accessibility in all Member States;
d. ensure that Commonwealth Member States guarantee the rights of civil
e. invest in, and support professional ethics, codes and leadership training and
development, thereby enhancing the overall capacity of governments and civil
society organisations to deliver critical services for development, and to
enhance transparency and reduce the extent to which corruption can
undermine sustainable and equitable urban development.
f. provide protection for civil society actors through the establishment of a
Commonwealth mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders,
including the principles in the UN Declaration for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders;
g. establish and ensure the independence of National Human Rights Institutions
in strict conformity with the Paris Principles; and
h. guarantee a relevant and independent role for civil society, by providing
adequate funding allocated from the annual budget with accountability
measures. We call for the establishment of a Task Force to draw up
guidelines for adoption at the next CHOGM to enable an appropriate
approach throughout the Commonwealth.
78 Underscoring that the empowerment of women is key to transformation, CHOGM
should move from rhetoric to reality, by focusing attention on improving gender equality
within Commonwealth Member States and adhering to agreed commitments in
international declarations and conventions;
79 Noting that gender equality is not only crucial in itself, but is a fundamental human
right and a question of social justice;
80 Stressing that gender equality is essential for growth and poverty reduction, and that
it is key to reaching the MDGs and as such needs to be recognised as a goal in its own
81 Affirming that equal rights (political, civil, economic, social and cultural) for women
and men, girls and boys needs to be demonstrated through: equal access to and control
over resources for women and men; and equal opportunities to achieve political and
economic influence for women and men;
82 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. put in place measures that commit responsible ministries to implementation of
9 Adopted by Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women’s/Gender Affairs, 7th Meeting (7WAMM), 30
May–2 June 2004, Fiji Islands
the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005–201510. The
Commonwealth must work together to ensure closer collaboration between
governments and gender-focused civil society organisations and institutions
to ensure concerted support to elimination of gender inequalities and poverty
eradication. Together they should address the gaps and persistent obstacles
and challenges faced in the implementation of the Commonwealth Plan of
b. support initiatives that increase financing for gender equality work, through
gender-responsive budgeting. In addition, the Third High Level Forum on Aid
Effectiveness presents an opportunity for Commonwealth Member States to
demonstrate support for increased funding gender equality work;
c. institutionalise the participation of women in decision making in the first
instance by achieving 30% target set out in the Beijing Platform for Action and
the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-201511;
d. ensure concerted action, and commit resources to address gender-based
violence and prevent the trafficking and abuse of women and children;
e. enact and implement legislation against gender-based violence, promoting
victim protection and awareness-raising through the media, as well as
education and training;
f. urge those countries that are not parties to the Convention on the Elimination
of Discrimination Against Women to ratify the Convention;
g. conduct a gender disaggregated base-line study of gender equality in all
Commonwealth Member States, using a standardised set of indicators, that is
regularly updated;
h. encourage Commonwealth Member States to initiate programmes in conflict
and post conflict countries in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution
i. build capacity of government institutions for gender budgeting and capacity
for organisations to access funding for gender budgeting;
j. review labour and employment laws and opportunities for women, and
address women’s ownership and use of land and property rights; and
k. mainstream gender equality in all policies, strategies and actions, and
financial measures which directly support women’s empowerment.
83 We call on Commonwealth Governments, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the
Commonwealth Foundation to facilitate the strengthening and development of the
Commonwealth Women’s Network, as a mechanism for the promotion of gender
84 Recognising that among the most essential human rights are the rights of workers;
85 Noting that the Decent Work Agenda has been recognised by the United Nations as
central to poverty alleviation and should be placed at the core of social and economic
10 Adopted by Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women’s/Gender Affairs, 7th Meeting (7WAMM), 30 May–
2 June 2004, Fiji Islands
11 Adopted by Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women’s/Gender Affairs, 7th Meeting (7WAMM), 30 May–
2 June 2004, Fiji Islands
86 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. mandate the Commonwealth Secretariat to monitor progress towards the
universal ratification by all Commonwealth Member States of ILO Convention
b. decide that all Commonwealth Member States will consult their tripartite
constituents formally in the process of preparation of Commonwealth
meetings and ensure a Commonwealth-wide Tripartite Consultation by the
time of the CHOGM in 2009;
c. decide that Commonwealth Labour Ministers will hold an Annual Forum, to be
organised on a tripartite basis;
d. establish a target for all Commonwealth Member States to ratify all eight core
labour standards within the next six years, to undertake biennial reviews of
progress towards that objective, and to publish the results of their reviews;
e. establish a fund for capacity enhancement activities by trade unions, covering
inter alia workers in informal work and export processing zones and linked to
ILO assistance and technological cooperation.
87 Noting the critical challenges facing children in the Commonwealth;
88 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. put in place a Commonwealth Plan of Action for Children to provide a
framework to ensure ‘safe-places and enabling environment for children at all
b. explore mechanisms to ensure that the voice of children is heard at future
Commonwealth meetings.
89 Stressing that the transformation of society is not possible without assured and
effective access to justice, including an independent judiciary and democratic policing,
such as policing that is representative, responsive and accountable;
90 Expressing outrage at the position taken by the three Commonwealth Member States
who voted against adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
91 Recognising that human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law
remain of central importance to the Commonwealth, as set out in the Harare Declaration,
and that an enabling environment is required, at both the national level and
Commonwealth level, in order to achieve full civil society participation within the
92 Expressing concern about the increase in cases of disappearance, occurrence of
internal displacement, and the killing of innocent persons, as Commonwealth
continue to fail to live up to their human rights commitments and, in not doing so, fail to
transform societies for the realisation of people’s potential;
93 Noting with grave concern the tendency in Commonwealth countries to restrict civil
society space, democratic rights, freedom of expression, particularly the media and the
right to dissent and the targeting of Human Rights Defenders accompanied by extreme
impunity by State actors all of which are reducing the commitment of Commonwealth
States to the promotion, protection, and realising of human rights in the Association;
94 Noting that an increasing number of countries have promulgated repressive
legislation and taken administrative steps under the pretext of counter-terrorism
measures in breach of established Human Rights instruments;
95 Recognising the need, given the current global climate of counter terrorism and
resultant increase in police powers, for the development of standards and monitoring of
Commonwealth police practices;
96 Affirming that a pan-Commonwealth approach is the most efficient and effective way
to assist member states improve the quality of their policing, and ensure effective
democracy and development;
97 We call on Commonwealth Member States to:
a. ratify and implement international human rights treaties; instructing the
Commonwealth Secretariat to monitor and report progress. All legislation,
especially anti-terror laws, must abide by international human rights
b. fully implement their pledges and commitments to the promotion and
protection of human rights at the UN Human Rights Council;
c. respect human rights in any legislation or other national security measures in
the name of countering terrorism;
d. respect the moratorium on the Death Penalty voted by the UN Third
Committee and proactively work towards the total abolition of the death
e. include issues concerning minority rights, such as the rights of indigenous
peoples, gay and lesbian people, people with disabilities, and refugees on
the Commonwealth agenda;
f. constitute a Commonwealth Expert Group on Policing to promote better
policing in the Commonwealth and further call upon Commonwealth members
to review and recast police laws and anti-terrorism law affecting policing to
reflect the same;
g. strengthen National Human Rights Institutions through increased funding,
timely response to their recommendations, and establishment of
mechanisms of engagement with governments and stakeholders;
h. provide adequate support, including funding, for the Human Rights Unit of
the Commonwealth Secretariat;
21 P a g e
i. facilitate the participation of the Commonwealth National Human Rights
Institutions Forum in the Commonwealth processes;
j. work closely with National Human Rights Institutions in the promotion and
protection of economic and social rights, and take measures for the

Ayoub mzee with the Uganda Foreign Minister Hon. Sam Kutesa

H.E President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni with the First Lady at the new State House-ENTEBBE

Memorial to the Cuban Soldiers who Died for Ethiopia
Security Council Urges More Support for AMISOM
Freedom House: A Damning Report on Eritrea
World Bank Approves US $41 Million to Connect Ethiopia, Sudan Power Grids
MFA Dismisses New York Times Article as Fictitious
AU Launches "Panel of the Wise"

A high level Cuban delegation led by Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernandez arrived in Addis Ababa this week for an official visit to Ethiopia. The delegation which included senior Cuban military officers, veterans of the war had meetings with President Girma Woldegiorgis, Prime Minster Meles Zenawi, Foreign Minster Seyoum Mesfin, House Speaker Ambassador Teshome Toga and other senior government officials. The focus of the discussions was on ways to further consolidate the strong bond between the Ethiopian and Cuban peoples. During his meeting with the Cuban Vice President, Prime Minister Meles noted that friendly ties between the two nations went back to the 1970s when Cuban soldiers died in the battlefield helping to defend Ethiopia. This had given the relationship a firm basis, cementing it, indeed, with blood. Prime Minister Meles said the Ethio-Cuba Joint Commission served both the purpose of enhancing relations and of reflecting the prevailing good ties. Discussions also covered education and health issues and highlighted the long-standing friendly ties. After his talks with the Premier, Vice President Esteban Hernandez emphasized that the unveiling of the Ethiopian and Cuban Friendship monument, honoring sacrifices made by Cuban soldiers, would provide momentum for reinforcing mutual cooperation highlighting as exemplary the people to people ties between Cuba and Ethiopia. Vice President Esteban Hernandez accompanied by members of the Cuban army who participated in the fighting in 1977-78, and other members of the Cuban delegation laid a wreath at the Victory Monument at Arat Kilo. The Vice President was also presented with a key to the City by the Mayor of Addis Ababa.

Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernandez and House Speaker Teshome Toga inaugurated the Ethiopian and Cuban Friendship Monument and Park situated at the centre of the City of Addis Ababa. The Monument celebrates the sacrifice paid by the gallant Cuban soldiers alongside their Ethiopian brothers in defending the territorial integrity of Ethiopia during the invasion by Siad Bare's army in 1977. Ethiopia had faced the Somali invasion shortly after the removal of Emperor Haile Selassie when it was still distracted by the consequences of the revolution of 1974. Speaking on the occasion, the Vice President thanked the Ethiopian people and their government for the monument, and emphasized the gratitude of his government "for this beautiful gift". It would, he said, stand as an ever lasting symbol of friendship between the two peoples. Vice President Esteban Hernandez, reminded his listeners of the commitment by Cuba to international solidarity over more than fifty years. He paid tribute to the 163 Cuban soldiers who died defending the sovereignty of Ethiopia. He said thousands of Cuban soldiers have fought shoulder to shoulder with Africans during the armed struggle to liberate the people from the bondage of colonialism. In development too, the Vice President said thousands of Cubans had contributed significantly to help realize the drive for change in Africa. At present there are 46,000 Cubans working as volunteers in 32 African countries and over one hundred thousand world-wide. Ethiopia's Defense Minister, Kuma Demeksa noted that Ethiopians would always remember and honor those Cuban soldiers who died helping to defeat the aggression by Siad Barre. Relations between the two countries would now, he said, be bolstered further and passed on to posterity.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday Prime Minister Meles Zenawi noted his concern that UN agencies have been exaggerating the humanitarian crisis in Somalia for their own reasons. At the moment some UN agencies are parroting totally unfounded reports without in any way trying to verify the reality. In fact, the Prime Minister pointed out, UN agencies through their representatives in Mogadishu, in collaboration with other stakeholders, had counted the exact number of displaced people in the two main refugee settlement areas. The counting had come up only with 44,182 displaced people. The Prime Minister said the staff of the UN agencies in the region, including Mr. Laroche, the UN Relief Coordinator knows these facts very well. The problem is that those working in some humanitarian agencies tend to sensationalize stories to help them successfully solicit funds and other resources for their humanitarian activities. It is generally considered that humanitarian agencies estimate number of the needy on the basis of the worst case scenario. In his interview the Prime Minister also noted that it was a lack of resources that prevented the full deployment of AMISOM. He expressed his hope that those with resources would support AMISOM's full deployment as soon as possible, and permit the withdrawal of Ethiopia forces.

On Thursday, former Zambian President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, a special envoy of President Levy P. Mwanawasa submitted to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a letter soliciting support for Zambia's bid for the Chairmanship of the African Union Commission. During talks with the Premier, Dr. Kaunda said Zambia is one of the member states that named its candidate to replace Chairperson of the AU Commission, Professor Alpha Oumar Konare, whose term in office expired in July. Six candidates from Zambia, Swaziland, Gabon, Mauritius, Sierra Leon, and Burundi are vying for the post of the AU Commission Chairperson. Voting is due to take place in January. Zambian candidate for the post is its ambassador to the United States of America, Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika. There are speculations that the election might be postponed again.

In a Presidential statement it issued on December 20, 2007, the Security Council reiterated its strong support for AMISOM, and again urged the international community to provide financial resources, personnel equipment and services for the full deployment of AMISOM. Security Council President, Massimo d'Alema of Italy, also requested the secretary-General to report by February 8, 2008 on the contingency plans for a possible UN Peacekeeping operation to takeover from AMISOM. The Security Council called on all Somali parties to reject violence and enter into a dialogue to achieve all inclusive national reconciliation. It demanded all parties should ensure unfettered access for Humanitarian assistance. It welcomed the appointment of a new Prime Minister and looked forward to the establishment of an effective government. It said the appointment offered a renewed opportunity to address the humanitarian crisis and implement the recommendations of the national Reconciliation Congress, and the 'road-map', as set out in the Transitional Federal Charter, for the rest of the transitional period.
Two days earlier, the UN secretary-General's Special Envoy to Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, following a series of recent meetings with President Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Nur Hassan 'Adde', told the Security Council that he thought the situation in Somalia was dangerous and becoming more so each day. He said that 'business as usual' would not work, nor would an international withdrawal. Alternatively, the international community must commit itself to immediate and effective political and security initiatives. Mr. Ould-Abdallah said AMISOM's effectiveness must be strengthened, and suggested that Saudi Arabia might provide a new 'peace presence', and even one or two NATO countries might become involved. These are, of course, the main options to facilitate the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces and relieve Ethiopia of its present security burden, without leaving the power vacuum that neither the Security Council, nor the international community, want to see. Mr. Ould-Abdallah said the TFG should be more active and make room for neutral personalities and competent opposition members. He told the Security Council he was preparing an agenda and identifying a list of possible political leaders, business community and members of the Diaspora to contribute to helping the opposition 'resume its responsibilities'. He made no mention of the continued intransigence of the opposition elements based in Eritrea, their obstinate refusal to talk to the TFG or to participate in the National Reconciliation Congress, or their continued support for Al-Shabaab terrorists in Mogadishu. Last weekend, a senior commander of Al-Shabaab, Muktar Ali Robow said his forces would fight against any foreign troops in Somalia. He told Prime Minister Nur Hassan 'Adde' to quit. Once the TFG had gone, he said the people will be able to embrace an Islamic government adding that it was Al-Shabaab's intention to rule by Shari'a law; democracy is not right, he added.
While there is no argument that there is a major humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Mr. Ould-Abdallah failed to use the recent figures for IDPs along the Mogadishu Afgooye road. These indicate that the numbers displaced by terrorist activity and security force responses are far less than originally believed. There may be over a million people needing assistance in Somalia, but the people leaving Mogadishu this year have been no more than 60,000, and the UNDP/TFG counted not more than 45,000 in the settlements along the road to Afgooye in early December not the over 200,000 that international agencies and Nairobi-based journalists continue to claim.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release issued on December 20, 2007 has dismissed as fictitious a New York Times article under the caption" In Rebel Region, Ethiopia Turns to Civilian Patrols". The piece by Jeffrey Gettleman, said the Ministry, does not do justice to the credibility of the New York Times." The various strands of the narrative that the article conveys share one quality; they are all based on fictitious stories". The major theme of the piece, it went on to say, is suggested by the title of the article that the Ethiopian Government is forcing civilians in the Somali Regional State, including doctors, teachers, office clerks and employees of the development programmes financed by the World Bank and the United Nations" to join the militia to fight "rebels". The press release underlined that there is absolutely no truth to the claim made by the New York Times and said "There are no civil servants that have been coerced into joining the militia in the Somali region of Ethiopia. There is no such practice in any part of Ethiopia, not even at the height of the crisis and during preparation for a major military conflict with Eritrea." This particular New York Times article is in fact rather odd. The fact that it is too careless with the facts is not all that new. What makes this latest article strange, even coming from this specific reporter who is not known for having a high level of journalistic ethical standard, is the total abandonment of efforts to make plausible claims even when they may be fabricated. What is one to make of the following claim that runs "Other civilians who served in the militias said they were not given camouflage, and had to buy their own rifles," says the press release. The Ministry has made it abundantly clear that the claim made by the New York Times article about civilians and civil servants being forced into the militia in the Somali regional state is a false claim and in all likelihood, a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. The Ministry said, it should not be difficult for those with the interest to do so to verify the allegation, and in this regard, they should count on the full cooperation of the regional state.

On Tuesday, a newly created conflict prevention and mediation instrument of the African Union, the Panel of the Wise took up its mission on a note of optimism that Africa was headed for durable peace and harmony. Speaking on the occasion AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare said the Panel of the Wise will be assisting all the organs of the AU"in the prevention rather than cure of conflicts". He said the Panel of the Wise would not leave other people from outside" to give us lessons on how we will better manage our problems" related to conflict resolution or prevention.Ahmed Ben Bella, the Panel's Dean and former President of Algeria, in a message read on his behalf by the former Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity,Salim Ahmed Salim,said the ancestral values of wisdom and dialogue would be the guiding principle of the Panel in discharging its responsibility.Ahmed Ben Bella urged all member states and AU organs to recommit themselves to the realization of peace and security across the continent. Peace and Security Commissioner Said Djinnit noted that the Panel's value will be in using its moral authority to persuade African leaders that war should not be an option. The idea is to deploy their talent to ensure and consolidate peace in the continent. The Panel of the Wise includes former OAU Secretary General, Salim Ahmed Salim, former Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella and Benin's Constitutional Court President, Elizabeth K. Pognon. The main mission of the Panel of the Wise is to support the efforts of the Peace and Security Council of the AU and the Chairperson of the AU Commission in the area of conflict prevention.

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$41.05 million to the Government of Ethiopia to help the country finance its portion of a new transmission line connecting Ethiopia's to Sudan's power grids. Interconnection between the two grids will allow power trading, thereby promoting Ethiopia's power export revenue generation capacity. The transmission line will run between the Ethiopian towns of Bahir-Dar and Metema and up to the border with Sudan. Replacing domestic thermal generation with surplus hydropower from Ethiopia, the project will also enable Sudan reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reliability and security of power supply in Ethiopia and Sudan will also be improved and increased access to electricity will be possible as part of the poverty reduction strategies that envisage to lighting schools and homes, expanding social amenities and broadening opportunities for business development. Philippe Benoit,World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project says" This project is the first power connection within the framework of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and is an important step in contributing to cross-border trade and regional interconnection as part of a growing power trade agenda in the region". One of the first tangible investments from the NBI, the Ethio-Sudan Transmission Interconnection Project is an important undertaking in converting the collaborative intentions of the riparian countries into physical investments and benefits. The whole exercise represents a significant move in a broader power trade agenda for the region, where interconnections with Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are under consideration. The project will also invest in institutional upgrading and capacity building to improve the technical know-how of the power company staff in Ethiopia in implementing and operating the transmission line, boosting Ethiopia's capability to participate intensively in the development of a broader regional power market. The Nile Basin Initiative partnership of the riparian states of the Nile provides a framework for promoting cross-border investments designed to generate benefits both at the national and regional level.