A landmark Commonwealth Charter and a package of reforms to modernise and sharpen the impact of the Commonwealth have been endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government today.
This brings to a close discussion on Commonwealth reform which began at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia, in October 2011, and included consideration of the Eminent Persons Group report A Commonwealth of the People: Time for Urgent Action.
The agreed proposals include a new Commonwealth Charter setting out the core values and aspirations of the Commonwealth and its members, and commitments to strengthen the Secretariat’s work on election observation and human rights.
Minister for the Commonwealth, the Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire MP, commented:
“I am delighted that Commonwealth Heads of Government have agreed a new Commonwealth Charter and endorsed a package of reforms to strengthen the Commonwealth. This marks an important milestone in Commonwealth modernisation.
“Commonwealth Ministers devoted a great deal of effort to achieve this result. This reflects our belief that the Commonwealth can make a strong, positive contribution on a range of global issues and nurturing democratic standards worldwide.
“The reforms, now adopted, show vision and a genuine desire by all members to increase the Commonwealth’s impact and relevance. All parts of the Commonwealth family must now work together to implement these reforms, to ensure that the organisation is as strong and effective as it can be.
“The ability to protect core democratic values is central to the Commonwealth’s credibility. I hope that the Charter becomes a useful tool to promote these values throughout the Commonwealth. We look forward to events in the coming months to officially launch the Charter, and will play our part in raising its profile in the UK.”
Commonwealth Secretariat press release
Ministerial statement, Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting in New York