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Rwanda’s former foreign affairs minister amongst the four newly appointed commonwealth special envoys


The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on Friday, the 11th of December 2020 announced the names of four special envoys and champions who will promote the Commonwealth’s values and principles globally.

 “I am deeply honoured that these Special Envoys and Champions of such exceptional talent, quality and experience have generously agreed to help us promote the values and principles of the Commonwealth so that we can better deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and assist the 2.5 billion people in the Commonwealth in need of our support,” the Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said.

The Special Envoys with their different roles are namely:

The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Health and Education is Rwandan medical doctor, seasoned diplomat and politician, Dr Richard Sezibera. According to The Commonwealth, Dr Sezibera would focus on the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to health and well-being (SDG3) and quality education (SDG4).  

Dr Richard Sezibera is a Rwandan medical doctor, diplomat and politician, who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 18 October 2018 until November 4, 2019.

In 1999, he was appointed Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States of America, with concurrent accreditation to Mexico, Argentina and Mexico. Dr Sezibera served in the Office of the President of Rwanda, as Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region and senior advisor to the President of Rwanda. 

In 2008, Dr. Sezibera was appointed Minister of Health in the Rwandan cabinet until 2011. He served as Vice President of the World Health General Assembly and chairperson of the World Health Organization regional committee on Africa. He served as a commissioner on the UN Secretary General’s Commission on accountability for women and children’s health. He is a member of GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine) board first as minister of health in Rwanda, 2nd and 3rd time as an individual. He serves as the chairperson of the board’s programme and policy committee.

Anne Wafula Strike MBE. The British Paralympic athlete Anne Wafula Strike is the Secretary-General’s Champion for Equality in Sports. According to The Commonwealth, her role involves connecting sporting initiatives and supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to sports, peace, development and improving equality in sports. 

Anne Wafula Strike MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) is a British Paralympic wheelchair racer. Anne Wafula Strike was born in Mihuu in Bungoma, Kenya, and contracted polio at the age of two. She relocated to the United Kingdom in April 2000 and was introduced to wheelchair racing in 2002. In 2004, she became the first Kenyan wheelchair racer to represent Kenya and she competed in the T53 400m finals at the Paralympics in Athens, Greece. When Anne Wafula Strike became a British citizen in 2006, she became a member of Team GB (Great Britain) and after reclassification, now competes in the T54 racing category as a British athlete.

Another personality is the former Director of The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit, Justin Munday, who would be the Special Envoy on Climate Change, Environment and Socio-Economic Affairs. According to The Commonwealth, Justin Munday would support the Commonwealth’s climate strategy with a focus on the preparations for COP 26 which would hold in Glasgow (Scotland) in 2021 and mobilising resources to help achieve Paris Agreement ambitions and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in member-states.

Justin Munday was the Director of The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit. And prior to this, he worked as an Adviser to the UK Government on Russia, Energy and Climate Change. He also headed the World Bank’s forestry and biodiversity programmes in Russia and Central Asia respectively. He was also a Managing Director of Climate Change Capital, Senior Adviser to Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets Group, a Director of Aon Carbon and a founder of ForestRe.

The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for SDG Implementation is Professor Praja Trevedi, a former economic adviser to the Government of India. Professor Trevedi’s focus would be on the implementation of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals which including combatting poverty and reducing inequalities.

Until January 2018, Dr Prajapati Trivedi was the Senior Fellow (Governance) and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy and Faculty Chair for the Management Programme in Public Policy (MPPP) at the Indian School of Business. He previously served as a Secretary to the Government of India. In January 2009, he was appointed as the first Secretary pf Performance Management in India.

The newly appointed Commonwealth Special Envoys with specific roles will be responsible for portfolio areas covering key issues designed to support and assist the Commonwealth’s fifty-four member countries and 2.5 billion people.

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