Commonwealth Secretary-General to attend Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, will attend the Non-Aligned Movement Heads of State Summit from 19 to 20 January 2024 in Kampala, Uganda, as a Special Guest.

Established in 1961, the Non-Aligned Movement – which shares 44 of its 120 members with the Commonwealth – is a grouping of mostly developing countries working together to advance shared interests.

During her visit, the Secretary-General will consult with leaders from Commonwealth countries, seeking their perspectives on economic and environmental challenges and collaborating on strategies to deliver more tailored assistance.

She will also brief leaders on the preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, scheduled for October this year in Samoa.

In a statement ahead of her visit, Secretary-General Scotland thanked President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for the invitation and commended his leadership as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Reflecting on the summit’s theme of ‘deepening cooperation for shared global affluence’, she said:

“Many developing countries have made considerable progress to improve the well-being of their people. But they are now bearing the brunt of a myriad of crises, with the lingering effects of COVID-19, soaring debt, inflation pressures and intensifying climate extremes and disasters.

“The absence of adequate international support forces them to commit more of their limited resources into protecting their people from these crises, which further compounds their challenges, eroding hard-earned progress on poverty, inequality and development, and is pushing many countries to the edge.

“To tackle these overlapping challenges, we need more cooperation and solidarity than ever before. The voice of the Non-Aligned Movement is essential, and the Commonwealth stands as a trusted partner in achieving our shared vision for a peaceful, just and sustainable future for all.”

In her engagements, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will draw attention to the urgent reform of the global financial system to meet the needs of developing countries.

She will share how the Commonwealth’s Universal Vulnerability Index can help better target international finance, including overseas aid and debt relief, for countries in need of support.

The Secretary-General will also discuss the progress made at last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) and the Commonwealth’s targeted assistance to help member countries translate those commitments into action.

In particular, Secretary-General Scotland will inform leaders about the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, which has mobilised US $322 million in climate finance for 17 vulnerable countries, with an additional US $500 million in the pipeline.

She will also highlight the Commonwealth’s coordinated response to ocean challenges through the Commonwealth Blue Charter, land degradation issues through the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter and a just energy transition through the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda.

While in Kampala, the Secretary-General is expected to meet with government ministers, senior officials, and other public figures to discuss ways to deepen ongoing cooperation.