PUTRAJAYA, Sept 18 — In order for the Commonwealth to build back better during the global COVID-19 recovery phase, collective action is needed to address the digital divide between developed and developing countries.
Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah also underscored the need for the public and private sectors to continue utilizing digital technologies as done during lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said this during the 21st Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) conducted virtually on Thursday.
The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was chaired by Elizabeth Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK). The UK is the current Chair-in-Office for the Commonwealth.
Saifuddin also called for Commonwealth countries to cooperate in global COVID-19 recovery through the strengthening of health diplomacy.
He emphasized the importance of equal access and distribution of vaccines at an affordable price to all citizens in the Commonwealth, and implemented in accordance with the principles of transparency and good governance.
On climate change, Saifuddin recalled the Commonwealth Langkawi Declaration on Environment, which was issued by Leaders in 1989 to protect the environment and address the adverse impact of climate change.
He urged the Commonwealth to continue to be a strong advocate on climate change in the lead-up to the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).
The CFAMM is held annually to discuss matters of collective interest to the Commonwealth such as the implementation of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) mandates, current global issues affecting the Commonwealth, briefing on territorial disputes as well as on the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat.