The Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings (CHOGM) are biennial meetings between the heads of government of all commonwealth countries to discuss pressing issues relevant to commonwealth countries. The meetings favour a consensus view on solving issues and prioritise working together and exploring countries opinions over a more competitive environment inside of the UN or other organisation.
Commonwealth New Zealand holds the inaugural Student CHOGM annually as a way to support young New Zealanders in learning about the commonwealth and discuss pressing issues from the real international discussions.
Leading on from the 2018 CHOGM meeting, the 2018 Student-CHOGM in New Zealand had a focus on the future of environmental sustainable development as well as the affect climate change will have on member states. Specifically, the issue of “Climate Change Refugees” came up at multiple points and was a defined talking point for all nations involved.
I represented the Solomon Islands at the 2018 SCHOGM, and thus had a focus on climate change and the affect “underwater farming” from rising sea levels was having on the locals of the Solomon Islands. It was fascinating to see a directive come together from all member states involved that prioritised the refugees of Climate Change affected countries. A far cry from the disappointing result of the actual CHOGM in 2018.
We also had the opportunity to meet and greet with some local politicians as Parliament was in session during the proceedings, which was an awesome experience for me (someone who lives outside of the immediate Wellington area of influence). We also had extensive networking during the event, with people from all facets and careers in attendance to give us advice in the areas of national and international political careers.
Thanks to the organisers of the event, Commonwealth New Zealand, the opener of parliament for the event – Chris Bishop, as well as our teacher in charge Mr Lobb from PNBHS for giving us access to this great opportunity.