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Focus area

Environment and climate change

Protection of the environment is now a major concern across all Commonwealth countries; Member States have consistently acknowledged the urgent need for action on environmental issues and climate change. The Commonwealth is recognised as a leader on these issues and has a strong track record of working with small and vulnerable States to secure finance to adapt or prepare for the impacts of climate change.

It is now widely accepted that these are not problems that can be dealt with by governments alone. Civil society, along with the private sector, must be actively involved at all levels of discussion, debate, policy formation, and decision-making, including in multilateral processes; most pressingly the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is also increasingly acknowledged that participation must itself be purposefully inclusive, with the views and ideas of women, young people, and those most severely affected given prominence.

The Foundation’s mandate places it in a strong position to help amplify the voice of civil society at a critical time for the planet and its people. We are therefore prioritising the environment and climate change in our grant-making: supporting innovative projects that seek to bring civil society into policy formation and decision-making. We are also working to bring creative voices to bear on these issues and using platforms such as Critical Conversations to spark debate, connection, and action. We are targeting multilateral forums and appropriate Commonwealth spaces to communicate civil society ideas and positions. Our focus on small and vulnerable States is strongly maintained throughout this area of work.

Commonwealth Charter X

Protecting the environment

We recognise the importance of the protection and conservation of our natural ecosystems and affirm that sustainable management of the natural environment is the key to sustained human development. We recognise the importance of multilateral cooperation, sustained commitment and collective action, in particular by addressing the adaptation and mitigation challenges of climate change and facilitating the development, diffusion and deployment of affordable environmentally friendly technologies and renewable energy, and the prevention of illicit dumping of toxic and hazardous waste as well as the prevention and mitigation of erosion and desertification.

Sustainable Development Goal 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Sustainable Development Goal 14

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

Sustainable Development Goal 15

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

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