Attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta today, the Prime Minister announced Australia’s support for four key Commonwealth initiatives:
Australia will provide $2.5 million over five years to help fund a new Commonwealth Unit in the Commonwealth Secretariat dedicated to countering extremism and radicalisation. This will strengthen the ability of Commonwealth countries to counter the extremist narrative. A team of experts will be seconded into the Commonwealth Secretariat to build expertise in tackling the common threat we are all facing from violent extremism, and foreign fighters.The Unit will work with civil society networks and Commonwealth governments to develop counter-extremism resources, especially building up technical counter-terrorism expertise.
Australia will provide $1 million to support the new Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, based in Mauritius, to help small island developing and least-developed states to effectively access existing climate funds. These countries have asked for assistance in accessing the climate finance they need to effectively deal with climate change and develop investment-ready projects.
Australia will fund the second phase of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Junior Election Professionals Initiative with $1 million. This initiative will help train election officials across the Commonwealth in more effectively managing election processes.This Australian contribution will further strengthen the Commonwealth’s election monitoring effort.
Australia will increase its funding to the Commonwealth of Learning with $1 million in 2015-16 to support a range of projects aimed at improving access to education in Commonwealth countries, especially for girls, including through distance and open learning.
Prime Minister Turnbull also participated in a breakfast hosted by Prime Minister Cameron and President Khama of Botswana to discuss practical ways the Commonwealth can support efforts by member countries to tackle corruption, as well an event to highlight progress on the Global Polio Eradication initiative to which Australia has contributed $36 million over four years.