In her opening remarks at the 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, KC, emphasized the importance of the event, noting that it is an opportunity to continue the Commonwealth's legacy of shared commitment and common action.
Scotland acknowledged the many challenges facing the world today, including the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, conflict, and climate change.
"We recognize the many challenges facing the world today, including the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, conflict, and climate change.
These crises are interconnected, and each one makes the others worse.
Furthermore, the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian on Grand Bahama and other islands is still being felt today.
This meeting is an opportunity for us to address these challenges and put women and girls at the heart of a better tomorrow. In particular, we will focus on the opportunities that digitalization, innovation, and technological revolution can bring to women and girls."Since taking office, the Secretary-General has worked to mainstream gender equality across all areas of the Commonwealth's work.
She has built new partnerships and strengthened the Commonwealth's support programs. The Secretary-General pledged that the Secretariat would continue to provide comprehensive support and assistance to the delegates as they work to address challenges and seize opportunities for women and girls.
The resolutions and conclusions reached at the meeting will also help to guide the strategic priorities of the Secretariat and shape the agenda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa next year.
The Secretary-General reflected on the Commonwealth's history of unity, purpose, and ambition, which have served it well in the past. She challenged the delegates to use the Commonwealth spirit to write a new chapter in history that will lead to a safer, more peaceful, more sustainable, more equal, and more prosperous future for women and girls across the Commonwealth.
The Bahamas was the site of a historic Commonwealth meeting that helped to free Nelson Mandela from prison, and the Secretary-General asked, "If we were able to free Nelson Mandela, isn't it time we free the women of the world?"