The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland has concluded a visit to Australia this week where she held discussions with government officials and civil society representatives on issues ranging from climate action to youth empowerment.

During her visit, the Secretary-General met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss climate action in the Pacific.

Whilst in Canberra, Secretary-General Scotland said: “Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time and small island developing states, including those in the Pacific, are particularly vulnerable to its effects. Pacific island nations are already experiencing the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and ocean acidification. These countries urgently need support to build resilience and adapt to these changes, including assistance with disaster preparedness and response, debt sustainability, and access to finance for climate resilience. I was delighted to meet with Prime Minister Albanese and discuss ways in which the Commonwealth can support Australia and its Pacific neighbours in tackling some of these challenges.”

The Secretary-General held discussions with Dr Anne Aly, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth, to explore opportunities for youth empowerment. She emphasised the importance of investing in the education, training, and employment of young people as a key driver of sustainable development and prosperity.

In addition, the Secretary-General delivered a keynote speech at the Australian Institute for International Affairs and the Royal Commonwealth Society, where she highlighted the Commonwealth’s role in promoting peace, democracy, and human rights across the world.

The Secretary-General also met with Governor-General, Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, to discuss the Commonwealth’s priorities and the valued role of Australia in the Commonwealth family. She praised Australia’s contribution to the Commonwealth’s work on climate change, human rights, and gender equality.

Whilst in Canberra, Secretary-General Scotland attended a Dawn Service on ANZAC Day to honour the memory of those who served and sacrificed and to recognise the enduring bonds of friendship and solidarity between Australia, New Zealand and the Commonwealth.

The Secretary-General’s visit to Australia underscores the Commonwealth’s commitment to strengthening its partnerships with member states and promoting sustainable development and prosperity across the globe.