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Young men and women bear flags at the Commonwealth 60th anniversary celebrations

Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversary

2009

Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversary since the London Declaration was signed and the modern Commonwealth was born.

The Commonwealth is now a unique association of 54 independent states consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding. It comprises countries from all major continents of the world, rich and poor, small and large.In the 60 years since the Declaration, the relevance and value of the relationship has repeatedly been reaffirmed and consolidated.

The creation of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965 and the ever expanding number of professional and advocacy Commonwealth organisations reflect this; but most significant is the expansion of membership from 8 in 1949 to 54 in 2009. A clear demonstration of how the scope of the Declaration ensured that the Commonwealth retained a relevance to other newly independent nations.

In many ways the ‘atmosphere of goodwill and mutual understanding’ in which the Declaration was formulated can be seen as the crucible in which the character governing the Commonwealth today was created. It balanced modern realities with the pragmatic and the positive, which is why 30% of the world’s population have cause for celebration in 2009.