Patricia Scotland from the UK has been elected as the new Secretary General of the Commonwealth, the Bangladesh foreign ministry says.
She will be the first woman to lead the 53-countries bloc when she officially replaces Kamalesh Sharma, current Secretary General, in April next year for four years.
Heads of governments elected the sixth Secretary General on Friday after the opening of their meeting at Malta.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali represented Bangladesh.
Born in Dominica, the 60-year-old Baroness Scotland is a British barrister and jurist. She was a former Attorney General of the UK.
The foreign ministry said leaders of the member states in a “closed session” elected the new Secretary General of Commonwealth.
Earlier, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch of the UK and the Head of Commonwealth, declared the summit open.
She highlighted the values and principles that the Organisation has fostered for more than 60 years.
The Commonwealth is a grouping of former British colonies.
Commonwealth Climate Statement adopted
A special session on climate change was also held on the first day as the climate summit, COP21, will begin in Paris, just after the end of this meeting on Nov 29.
French President Francois Hollande, Prince of Wales Prince Charles, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete addressed the session.
The leaders also adopted a ‘Commonwealth Climate Statement’ to send “a strong political message” to the climate summit.
They aimed for an “an ambitious, equitable, inclusive, balanced, rule-based and durable outcome (in climate summit) that would include a legally binding agreement”.
President Hollande welcomed the statement.
FM meets Canadian PM
On Friday, on the sidelines, Foreign Minister Ali met new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He conveyed to him greetings and felicitations of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on his assumption of the office, the foreign ministry said.
He also extended the Prime Minister’s invitation to her Canadian counterpart to visit Bangladesh, which he agreed to undertake soon at a mutually convenient time.
According to the foreign ministry, Trudeau said he was keen to see the changes in Bangladesh since his visit to the country at the age of 13 with his father, then Prime Minister of Canada.
He was born in 1971.