Commonwealth Heads of Government are meeting this week at CHOGM 2005 in Valletta, Malta.

Every two years, Commonwealth leaders meet for a few days to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and to agree collective policies and initiatives. These summits, organised by the host nation in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, provide a unique forum for consultation at the highest level of government.

Also being held in Malta is The Commonwealth Business Forum (22-24 November), under the theme “The Commonwealth, Europe and the Mediterranean – Window on Business Opportunities”. This is a major international business event bringing together over 500 government and business leaders from throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. The Forum promotes practices and policies for the enhancement of global trade and investment. It provides new opportunities for business networking and partnerships drawing on the Commonwealth’s comparative advantage in areas such as services, information and communications technology, banking and financial services.

The Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF), which has established itself as one of the major Commonwealth events, commenced on November 16 and will continue through to the 23rd. CYF is one of the most important meetings held in parallel with the CHOGM and provides an excellent opportunity for young people from all the countries of the Commonwealth to meet, discuss issues, and come up with action plans and recommendations which are then presented to the Heads of Government attending CHOGM.

The theme of the Commonwealth Youth Forum is the same as that of the CHOGM, “Networking for Development”. The issues that will be discussed in November include Sustainable Development, Active Citizenship, Good Governance, Enterprise, Health and Sexuality, Education and Human Rights.

Also coinciding with CHOGM is The 2005 Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) which started yesterday and will end on November 25. The theme of the Forum is “Networking Commonwealth People.” The purpose of the Forum is to provide a space for interaction among Commonwealth civil society organisations, and between such organisations and government. The CPF is the major Commonwealth civil society summit at CHOGM, bringing together a cross section of civil society organisations, professional associations, and cultural groups. In addition, it provides a valued space for civil society organisations (CSOs) to dialogue with government representatives at the time of CHOGM and to feed civil society ideas, issues and concerns into the CHOGM process.

Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie will be participating in CHOGM 2005. He has indicated that he anticipates there will be opportunity to engage in bilateral and direct discussions with leaders of other participating countries to speak to issues that are relevant to The Bahamas. Accompanying the Prime Minister are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, along with professional staff.