The Commonwealth Peoples’ Forum (CPF) sub-committee together with the Commonwealth Foundation and the CHOGM Malta Task Force is working intensely to ensure that the Commonwealth Peoples’ Forum will be the most effective to date so as to render CHOGM 2015, into which it will feed, the smartest and most efficient CHOGM yet.
The run-up activities and the CPF programme will, once again, showcase Malta as a catalyst for change; fertile ground in which the seeds sown and tended by the people of the Commonwealth, particularly where human rights are concerned, can only be brought to fruition by the intervention of Commonwealth civil society whereby the peoples’ voice will be heard by the Foreign Ministers and, thence, the Heads of Government.
It is said that an honest voice can be louder than that of a crowd… Imagine the magnitude of all the honest voices of the Commonwealth people coming together as one. It is said that an honest voice can be louder than that of a crowd. I ask you then, to imagine the magnitude of all the honest voices of the Commonwealth people coming together as one. Ponder this for a moment, in a silence more laden than words… the voice booms… and it will not be stopped. The potential of the collective voice is immense. The enthusiasm rolls in intense waves. The concerns and needs of the Commonwealth people create a feverish drive to action through civil society’s discourse on resilience, which, in itself, generates the energy, channelled and focused through the CPF 2015, to strengthen society’s full participation in sustainable development. This, in turn, reinforces civil society’s role in participatory governance. Only if we harness such energy can we maximise the effect and optimise the results of our endeavours.
It is with this in mind, as our prop and mainstay, that, with the support of the CHOGM Malta Task Force and under the guidance of the Commonwealth Foundation, those honoured to serve on the Commonwealth People’s Forum sub-committee and the Commonwealth Content Design Committee went about fulfilling their commitment to the people of the Commonwealth to ensure a participatory process to our collective objectives and goals.
In large and smaller groups we met organisations and individuals representing civil society and discussed the Commonwealth peoples, their needs and concerns in the microcosm as well as the macrocosm of global challenges. Together, we arrived at the content outline you find in the brochure you hold in your hands today.
We have the great pleasure to announce that participation will include those who seek a voice as well as high profile speakers, such as Dr Vandana Shiva.
“One can’t be resilient for one day”. Resilience is garnered over the long term. I feel that I must share with you our experience of yesterday evening, when we had an intense discussion with the world’s foremost authority and Malta’s very own Professor Lino Briguglio, who pioneered the discourse on resilience many years ago. We discussed social cohesion and cultural values with resilience being the flip side of the coin to sustainable development and the binding element which is the essence of endurance. Prof Briguglio posited that “one can’t be resilient for one day”. Resilience is garnered over the long term. Government legislatures are, in the main, constitutionally designed for a specified duration. It is only natural that civil society, which is immutable and perpetual, be the catalyst and vehicle which devise, propose and implement the mechanisms and systems designed to bring to realisation the thematic concept of resilience and, thence, resilient societies.
Registration to participate in the People’s Forum and the opportunity to be an integral component of this voice is officially open as of now. We, in our turn, pledge our commitment to enhance this participatory process in the months to come, to further shape and hone the content material so far produced to reflect and resonate with the requirements of the people of the Commonwealth through continued discussion.
Under the Prime Minister’s direction and driving force, with the full support of the people of the Commonwealth, Malta will, once again, trail blaze by bringing the voice of the 2.2 billion people of the Commonwealth closer to their Foreign Ministers and, hence, their Heads.
Jacqueline Micallef Grimaud is the Chair of the CPF Malta 2015 Sub-Committee.