The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign States that are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations. The Commonwealth Charter brings together the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth: democracy, human rights and the rule of law, in a single accessible document and acknowledges the role of civil society in supporting the goals and values of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Secretariat, supports Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace. as a voice for small and vulnerable states and a champion for young people. Commonwealth biannual summits, bring together government leaders whose decisions will have an enduring impact on all citizens. By uniting our member countries in this way, CHOGM helps to amplify voices and to achieve collective action on global challenges. Priority areas of work are agreed at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which occur every two years.  The Commonwealth Secretariat’s structure is split into three areas:  Governance & Peace / Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources / Economic, Social and Sustainable Development.

Gender and CHOGM

The 2018 Commonwealth Women’s Forum emphasised women’s positive political, economic and societal contributions ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM). The three-day Commonwealth Women’s Forum (CWF) includes Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) speaking at the forum on a wide range of issues. The 2018 Commonwealth Women’s Forum holds workshop sessions reflecting on some of the global challenges still faced by women, as part of a commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ in the Commonwealth journey to achieving gender equality by 2030. The Commonwealth Women’s Forum saw international delegates from the Commonwealth and globally highlighting women’s positive political, economic and societal contributions and establishing mechanisms for how women and girls will be key to building sustainable and resilient societies.

Australia and CHOGM

Australia is committed to promoting sustainable development. It works to ensure the Commonwealth maintains its focus on the Pacific and can support the global interests of member states in the region.

CHOGM and the SDGs

The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting agreed to a number of commitments to contribute to a more sustainable, fairer, more prosperous and more secure future. In a Communiqué titled, ‘Towards a Common Future,’ signatories reaffirmed their commitments to action on health, education, gender equality, climate action, oceans, natural resources, good governance and other areas, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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