Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Barbados could advance their "important role in national and international development" by participating in the 2009 Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF), slated for Trinidad and Tobago from November 22 to 26.??

The Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre will be the venue of the forum itself while its opening ceremony will be held at Queen’s Hall.

Many delegates from across the Commonwealth are expected to attend this year’s CPF, which has the theme "Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future".

At this largest civil society event in the Commonwealth, eight assemblies will form the core of the programme. The topics of discussion will cover human rights; financial crisis and economic development; environment and climate change; gender; health and HIV/AIDS; peace and conflict; deepening democracy and governance, and creativity and innovation.?? Cross-cutting areas include youth, media, education, disability, gender and millennium development goals (MDGs).

Immediately preceding the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Government in Port-of-Spain from November 27 to 29, the CPF is the principal means of engagement between Commonwealth civil society and CHOGM.

According to the Commonwealth Foundation, "… the CPF provides a valued space for civil society to dialogue with government representatives and to feed the ideas, issues and concerns of Commonwealth citizens into the CHOGM process".

On making their voices heard at CHOGM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is encouraging the various CSOs across Barbados to attend the 2009 Commonwealth People’s Forum.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade recognises," said an official, "that civil society organisations play an important role in the realisation of a number of goals pursued as part of the national and international development agenda.

"It is through them that governments and peoples can interact to create the types of conditions that will contribute to the spread of greater economic opportunity and growth."

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