Remarks at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Hello, everyone. I’m very pleased to be here with Minister Joly and High Commissioner Goodale.
Today we wrapped up the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here in Rwanda. It was an opportunity to discuss a number of issues with our partners, such as Russia’s unjustifiable war in Ukraine, food security and climate change.
We also talked about the importance of supporting efforts to modernize and reform the Commonwealth, and of strengthening democracy, good governance and respect for human rights in countries around the world.
We’re in a critical time right now. We’re all feeling the impacts of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the rising food and fuel prices, and supply chain issues. We must continue to stand up to Putin; we must work together with partners and allies to support Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as Ukraine’s democracy. This is about global stability, security and prosperity, and it’s something that I raised in my one-on-one conversations with many leaders, including the presidents of Rwanda, Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, and Zambia, as well as with the prime ministers of Antigua, Jamaica, Singapore, among many others.
In many parts of the world, people are experiencing food insecurity. With export routes blocked in Ukraine, and the increase in fertilizer prices caused by the war, Vladimir Putin is making the food crisis worse. Canada will continue to be there to help the countries most affected. That’s why, on Thursday, we announced an additional investment of $250 million to support key humanitarian food and nutrition organizations.
Investing in food security around the world matters to vulnerable people who are hungry, and it matters to Canadians because it fosters stability that benefits everyone.
We're continuing our work to improve people's lives. This morning we participated in an event with the Commonwealth youth leaders. We discussed the importance of education and skills training to give more opportunities to more people, especially young people, and announced this week $94 million in funding for education, including through international scholarships and funding to improve primary school learning outcomes in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
We're also going to invest $120 million in initiatives that will support gender equality in Commonwealth countries. This includes, for example, funding to support sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria, it also includes research projects to improve health systems and pandemic preparedness. With women's rights under attack in many parts of the world, we must, and we will, continue investing in more access to safe sexual and reproductive health services for women everywhere.
In many meetings we had the opportunity to discuss efforts to tackle climate change and keep people safe. This week we're announcing that we’ll invest over $30 million in different initiatives to share information and promote nature-based solutions to fight climate change. This investment will also help with different projects that support peace and security throughout the African continent. To improve people's lives, we have to work together, and that's why it's so important to strengthen our relationships with Africa.
As announced this week, we are converting the Canadian office in Rwanda into a full High Commission, which will increase our capacity for diplomatic services, and we will establish a dedicated mission and ambassador to the African Union based in Ethiopia.
We also signed a Canada-Rwanda air transport agreement so that our countries are better connected. This is an initiative that will benefit people who want to travel as well as growing businesses.
The world is facing many challenges: Russia's war in Ukraine, food insecurity, climate change, continued pandemic. I look forward to continuing to work to address these challenges during the G7 in Germany starting tomorrow.
And I want to again thank Rwanda for hosting a successful summit here in Kigali.
President Kagame did an outstanding job.
But before I finish, I want to pause for a moment on the terrible news coming out of Oslo today. We send our deepest condolences to the victims and the families and loved ones of the families.
LGBTQ2 people and everyone should never live in fear or be subjected to violence because of who they are or whom they love. Today we stand in solidarity with LGBTQ2 communities in Norway and around the world.
Thank you very much.