The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)2024 taskforce has officially unveiled the Samoa CHOGM logo and website for the three-day gathering scheduled for October this year.

The event happened Wednesday at the Samoa Tourism Authority Fale Samoa in the presence of the Head of State Afioga Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaleto’a Eti Sualauvi II and Masiofo Fa’amausili Leinafo, Ministers of Cabinet and Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and heads of Government Ministries and Public Enterprises.

The CHOGM 2024, will be the 27th Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of nations and is scheduled to roll out from the 21-25 October under the theme; One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth.

The theme’s ‘focus is on resilience, as a unifying approach that transcends the humanitarian, development, human rights, and peace and security pillars’.

“The theme we have chosen will allow us to look at all the key pillars of the Commonwealth through a resilience lens. We strongly believe that we should focus on solutions and accelerated action,” said Chair of the taskforce and Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa in her remarks.

“The brand identity of our Samoa CHOGM 2024 has been developed, and we are here today to launch it.”

Before warmly congratulating Tauila Epati Tuumatavai for designing the winning logo for the Samoa CHOGM 2024 competition that was launched last June.

“An event brand is usually the first thing that people will see, and remember.” she said.

Prime Minister Mata’afa believes, “That the Samoa CHOGM 2024 Logo connotes the values and principles of Samoa, the Blue Pacific and the Commonwealth and I look forward to how we can use this in our work going forward.”

She also congratulated Vodafone Samoa for its winning bid to develop the Samoa CHOGM 2024 Website which is the ‘starting point of an important communication tool for CHOGM 2024, providing information to the widest possible audience, beyond those delegations that will attend CHOGM’.

The website she says is also an opportunity to showcase Samoa in all its finest, to bring Samoa to those that may not be able be here in October.

“Thank you, Vodafone Samoa, for your assistance in the development of our website, and [I] take this opportunity to acknowledge the support provided by all our ICT personnel in this regard.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) Agafili Shem Leo and the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of MCIT, Leaso Ronny Aiolupotea spoke briefly of the Logo and Website.

She also revealed that this is not the initial time the Pacific has hosted the meeting, but it will be ‘the first time that a Pacific Island country like Samoa will host a CHOGM’.

Australia hosted CHOGMs in 1981, 2022, and 2011 and New Zealand hosted in 1995 and Vanuatu although scheduled to play host in 2017 rescinded of hosting as a result of the devastating impacts of Cyclone Pam on the country’s infrastructure in March 2015.

“These are the realities of our countries and it is why the Commonwealth Aiga is important to us,” she said.

“We speak from the collective experience of the Blue Pacific Continent, where our Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have declared climate change as the single greatest threat to the security and well-being of our people,” she said.

“The ocean makes up 96 percent of our Blue Pacific region; and where we are amongst the first to most immediately suffer the impacts of climate change.”

The Prime Minister said as host and incoming Chair of the Commonwealth, “Samoa has an important opportunity to bring a unique perspective to the table and to contribute and influence discussions on all aspects of political and socio-economic development.”

“Consistent with the spirit of our Commonwealth Aiga, and guided by the Fa’asamoa, the government and I and people of Samoa eagerly anticipate welcoming the Commonwealth family to our island home and to our Blue Pacific Continent.”

Adding that, Samoa is working hand-in-hand with the Commonwealth Secretariat with the invaluable support of our partners and the Commonwealth Family, to ensure a successful, productive and unique event, and to the further strengthening of the spirit of Commonwealth cooperation.

The Commonwealth Day was celebrated on 11 March culminating 75 tears of its journey and growth as a unique family of independent countries from Africa, Asia, Caribbean and the Americas, Europe and the Pacific.

The Prime Minister said it was not very often that ‘we gather to speak about the Commonwealth, but this year, we are bringing the Commonwealth to Samoa, and to our Blue Pacific continent’.

“It is fitting therefore that we pay tribute to the Commonwealth of Nations, an important organisation that Samoa joined in August 1970, of which nine (9) of our Pacific Islands Forum members are members of.”

Of the 56 members of the Commonwealth, 33 of the world’s 42 small states are members. Samoa and seven other Forum Island countries fall into this grouping of small states, comprising a mix of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) said Prime Minister Mata’afa.

Its diverse membership means it comprises the world’s largest to the smallest, and low-and high-income countries.

“The Commonwealth institution is unique, with its roots anchored in the British Empire. Over time, the modern Commonwealth of Nations was born as the Dominions and territories of the British Empire became independent. Membership today is based on free and equal voluntary cooperation, which is reflected in the recent membership of Mozambique, Rwanda, Gabon and Togo, who have no historical ties to the British Empire.”

She said questions have been asked as to the relevance of the Commonwealth to Samoa, and more generally as a political association of states in the face of significant disparities in the distribution of wealth and economic benefits, impacts of climate disaster and COVID19.

As well, increasing geopolitical divides threatens multilateralism and undermines international cooperation, and peace and security, political, social and environmental challenges abound. My list goes on, but you get the drift she said.

“We are diverse nations facing multiple and interlocking global crises that are multi-dimensional and complex in their scope and nature. What, therefore, do we gain from being a member of the Commonwealth? What do we gain from hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting?”

According to the Prime Minister, since independence Samoa has gradually joined many multilateral and regional organisations to bolster our political and development relations that have helped realise our development aspirations.

And, equally important, however, are the roles and functions that political institutions like the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum play in our development.

“These organisations, like it or not, bring together the political leaderships of our countries to consider these very issues. For many of us, the Commonwealth has been a constant in our lives, seeking to promote and advance our shared goals of development, democracy, human rights, freedom, peace and the interests of vulnerable states for and on behalf of 2.5 billion of our citizens, in particular our youth, women and children, anchored in solidarity, and the values and principles expressed in the Commonwealth Charter.”

Development she said does not happen in a vacuum, political discourse is required to promote and advance growth and resilience across all sectors of development.

And, “In a rapidly modernising world, organisations like the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum will continue to play a pivotal role to ensure our discussions are inclusive, and that our decisions provide opportunities for all members of our society to contribute and benefit from it.”

Adding that, the Commonwealth is a vital global partner for advocacy and support, particularly for small and vulnerable countries like Samoa.

“Collectively, we have an opportunity to respond and to make a difference.”

The Prime Minister also acknowledged the collaborative work and contribution of all government agencies, the private sector and civil society organisations towards our preparations for CHOGM 2024.