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Uganda to bring new face to the Commonwealth People’s Forum

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st October 2007 03:00 AM

THE organising committee of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has vowed to bring a new face to the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF).

THE organising committee of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has vowed to bring a new face to the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF).

By Moses Mulondo

THE organising committee of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has vowed to bring a new face to the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF).

The CPF is the only Commonwealth summit forum that is open to the public. Held since 1997, the CPF precedes the CHOGM. It is organised by the Commonwealth Foundation and the civil society in the host country.

Under the theme: Realising People’s Potential, the CPF will be held from November 18 to 22 at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

In selecting the theme the organising committee recognised that people remain the most important resource for development. Realising people’s potential calls for a holistic and people-centred approach to transform society.

“The previous CPF events have been described by participants and observers as ‘closed door’ affairs, without participation of the public. This time, we shall have many changes which will include a people’s village at Hotel Africana to provide a bold, exciting and inclusive experience for the people,” said Warren Nyamugasira, the head of the organising committee for the 2007 Kampala CPF.

Nyamugasira said hundreds of people will leave the people’s village with renewed energy and ideas on how to facilitate social change after interacting with the delegates.

The people’s village will have an open forum, a market place, learning tents, interaction tents, cultural exchanges, film shows, mini-debates and the wall of greatness where people’s ideas will be pinned.

The open forum will be a place for people (individuals or organisations) to make their contributions on issues regarding CPF themes or other Commonwealth issues. Everyday, people will sign up to the topics of their interest. Each slot will be two hours long.

Since various delegates will participate in the open forum, there will be great opportunities to discuss, learn, share and gather information,” Nyamugasira said.

Meanwhile, the purpose of the market place is to give an opportunity to each country to exhibit a piece of their country that makes them proud and contributes to the strength and diversity of the Commonwealth.

The market place will enable people to see similarities and differences in Commonwealth countries. This will solidify the theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day, which is Respecting Difference, Promoting Understanding.

The market place will portray the strength and contribution of countries and regions to the Commonwealth. Questions will be sent out to participants prior to the event to guide them in preparing presentations about their countries.

The last Commonwealth People’s Forum was held from November 21 to 25 in Malta. The programme combined various elements including plenary sessions, workshops and an exhibition. About 500 people attended the plenary sessions, while over 1,350 people cumulatively attended the 41 workshops.

Each CPF has a theme which is linked directly to the theme of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Once the theme has been decided a series of sub-themes will be developed and it is around these that the civil society workshops and discussions will take place.

The outcome of these workshops will be compiled into reports, which will then feed into the final communiqué to be presented at CHOGM.

The 2007 CPF Steering Committee has identified six sub-themes for the Kampala CPF. These include economic development, governance and human rights culture, creativity and identity, environment and natural resources, education for transformation and health.

The CPF opening ceremony will take place on Sunday November 18 and will be graced by President Yoweri Museveni and the Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon.

Uganda to bring new face to the Commonwealth People’s Forum

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