The 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) took place in Perth, Australia, from the 28th October to the 30th October 2011. Heads of Government and other officials from the Commonwealth’s 54 member states attended (numbering to up to 3,000 delegates) and is described as a ‘unique gathering of Presidents and Prime Ministers’. The meeting had a theme of ‘Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience’.
The aims, ambitions and achievements of CHOGM 2011 were catalogued in an official communiqué, and published by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It deals with, in detail, agreements made by the Heads of Government regarding a series of key social, political and economic issues facing Commonwealth member states, as individuals, a collective and as part of the global environment.
Political agreements made in the report include the need to reform the institution of the Commonwealth in order to adapt to the climate of the 21st Century, through undertaking the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) and the reform of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG); and to uphold the organisations values, through establishing a ‘Charter of the Commonwealth’ and strengthening the CMAG in regards to future violations. On top of this, agreements were made to maintain a commitment to a secure environment through the promotion of counter-terrorism and counter-piracy efforts; and the promotion of accountability, through the co-operation with inter-governmental and civil society organisations.
Consensus was also achieved on economic points of discussion. These include working towards the economic recovery from the global recession support for the WTO, trade liberalisation and support for small states; and regenerating the organisation’s development priorities in regards to disadvantaged states, sustainable development and climate change.
Social topics were also encountered, especially the focus on empowering women (which is the Commonwealth’s theme for 2011), through using international instruments to enforce change, promoting national efforts and supporting the Secretariat’s effort on this important issue. Other discussions focused on supporting youth throughout all the member states, by providing them with a voice in public forums; and agreeing to implement frameworks, both legal and political, to halt people trafficking.
The leaders also discussed territorial disputes in Cyprus, Belize and Guyana; reappointing Mr Kamalesh Sharma as the Commonwealth Secretary-General for four years from April 2012; and organising future venues for CHOGM, with Sri Lanka hosting the 2013 event, Mauritius in 2015 and Malaysia offering to host in 2019.
The CHOGM 2011 communique can be found here.