Queen urges Commonwealth to lead on climate change

AFP – Queen Elizabeth II will urge the Commonwealth to keep taking the lead on global issues such as the environment in her Christmas message, according to extracts released Thursday.

The 83-year-old sovereign will call on young people from across the Commonwealth to keep debating the important issues facing its members, after the group held important pre-Copenhagen talks at its biennial gathering in November.

“It is important to keep discussing issues that concern us all — there can be no more valuable role for our family of nations,” the queen will say.

The group’s meeting in Trinidad last month was the final big international gathering of leaders before the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, and was dominated by environmental issues.

Queen Elizabeth II is also head of the Commonwealth, an group of 54 nations, most of which share past colonial ties with Britain.

Its members span six continents, represent some two billion people and include

India, Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan and Malaysia.

The queen’s Yuletide message is an annual tradition, started by her grandfather King George V in 1932. It is broadcast at 1500 GMT on Christmas Day.

This year’s speech will also be made available on the video-sharing website YouTube from 1500 GMT on Friday.

The 10-minute addresses usuall


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