Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) concluded in London, United Kingdom on April 20, 2018.

The two-day summit, formally inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II, saw in attendance 53 heads of Government including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event was held in London and Windsor.

This is the first time in a decade that an Indian Prime Minister is attending the event, which is held every two years, having skipped the Group summits in Perth, Colombo and Malta since 2009. This is also first CHOGM after UK decided to pull out of EU and is important for UK.

The theme of this year’s summit was ‘Towards a Common Future’.  The main aim of the meeting was to build on the strengths of the Commonwealth nations, address shared global challenges including environmental ones and agree on actions on how to create a better future for all.

The ongoing summit is the 25th meeting of the heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations. The summit was originally supposed to be hosted by Vanuatu at the end of 2017. However, it was moved to the United Kingdom as Vanuatu was no longer able to host the event due to the damage done by Cyclone Pam to the island nation’s infrastructure.

The 2018 edition is widely regarded to be the Queen’s last Heads of Government meeting. During the summit, the Queen relayed her wish that her son, Prince Charles, should carry on her work as leader of the Commonwealth.

Goals:

  1. Prosperity: Boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment.
  2. Security: Increasing cooperation across security challenges including global terrorism, organised crime and cyber attacks.
  3. Fairness: Promoting democracy, fundamental freedoms and good governance across the Commonwealth.
  4. Sustainability: Building the resilience of small and vulnerable states to deal with the effects of climate change and other global crises.

Outcomes:

CHOGM in London have adopted Commonwealth Cyber Declaration to take action on cybersecurity by 2020. The UK government has committed to provide up to £15m in funding to help strengthen cyber security in Commonwealth countries. The funding is also aimed at assisting efforts to tackle criminal groups and hostile state actors who pose a global threat to security, including in the UK. This is to be the world’s largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cyber security cooperation.

The Commonwealth Cyber Declaration sets out, for the first time, a common vision for ensuring the internet remains free and open across the Commonwealth.

The Blue Charter on Ocean Governance has been adopted by the Commonwealth Heads of Government as they wrapped up their summit. The Blue Charter maps out efforts to protect oceans and marine environments throughout the Commonwealth, from threats such as climate change, pollution and over fishing.

Commonwealth nations also expressed their strong support for the multilateral trading system and adopted a six-point connectivity agenda to boost trade and investment links.

Further Reading:

Commonwealth

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