Samoa’s Prime Minister has used a conference in Rwanda to highlight the values of the fa’asamoa and how they exemplify the spirit of the Commonwealth Charter.

In her closing address to the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in Kigali, Rwanda last Friday, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa spoke of Samoa’s hosting of the 2024 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and its theme “One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth”.

She said when the country plays host to the leaders of the 56 Commonwealth member states next October, Samoa hopes to promote the “unique perspective” of the fa’asamoa and show how it aligns with the Commonwealth Charter.

“Samoa hopes to promote a unique perspective to the table for this landmark event, uniting Commonwealth nations in their pursuit of resilience, sustainability, and a shared future,” said the Prime Minister. “The fa’asamoa, or Samoan way of life, exemplifies collective responsibility, encapsulating values such as respect, dignity, love, protection, and service.

“This ethos aligns with the principles of the Commonwealth Charter, uniting the Commonwealth Aiga (family) of 56 nations, representing one-third of the global population. These nations, diverse in size and development status, share common beliefs and values, where every member’s contribution is significant.”

According to Mata’afa, the people of Samoa look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to the Samoan islands and added that it was an opportunity for the community to share their culture and traditions with the visitors.

“And so in the spirit of our Commonwealth ‘Aiga’ and guided by the fa’asamoa, the Government and people of Samoa eagerly anticipate welcoming the Commonwealth family to our island home, the Blue Pacific in October 2024.

“We look forward to sharing our unique Samoan communal culture and traditions as we come together to transform our one resilient family into a Common Wealth.

“The global community, including our Commonwealth ‘aiga,’ confronts a multi-dimensional polycrisis, demanding collective solutions for sustainable development, democracy, and peace. As we stand together, the 2024 Samoa CHOGM calls for unity and enhanced resilience as vital for our survival.”

Samoa’s Prime Minister said “resilience” is the unifying approach that transcends the pillars of humanitarian, development, human rights, peace and security work and encompasses the ability to prevent, resist, absorb, adapt, respond, and recover positively from external shocks.

“Resilience safeguards sustainable development and well-being for all, preventing economic, environmental, and human losses during crises. How do we transform into a Common Wealth?

“We must harness our strengths by building resilience, unlocking potential, leveraging our ‘Commonwealth Advantage,’ and fostering a connected, digital Commonwealth. This transformation is vital to ensure a resilient common future where no one is left behind.”

Mata’afa added that the objective of next year’s CHOGM 2024 in Samoa is to strengthen: resilient democratic institutions upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; a resilient environment to combat climate change; resilient economies that support recovery and prosperity; and resilient societies to empower individuals for a peaceful and productive life.

“I note the relevance of the themes that have been on the agenda at the CLGF23 to the discussions around our theme for CHOGM 24 and the importance of building resilience at all levels,” she said.

“By committing to ensuring no one is left behind, we must all put emphasis on proactive efforts to engage more women and young people in leadership.

“In that regard, I most welcome the fact that youth has been mainstreamed throughout the conference in Kigali as well as the focus on gender equity and key strategies for greater resilience and an inclusive and equitable Commonwealth,” she said.