The modern Commonwealth of Nations was born in 1949 when the London Declaration was signed by 8 countries. The declaration recognised the 8 countries as independent and equal members of the Commonwealth, with King George VI as a symbolic head of the association.
Many other landmark declarations have come out of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) over the past 70 years.
The 1949 London Declaration was not the first Commonwealth Declaration. A version of the Commonwealth existed in a different form before 1949. In 1945 after World War Two, 5 Prime Ministers signed a declaration calling for a worldwide organisation to maintain peace and security, with the power and authority to prevent aggression and violence.
India became independent in 1947. India wanted to become a republic which didn't owe allegiance to the British king or queen, but it also wanted to stay a member of the Commonwealth. At a Commonwealth Prime Ministers meeting in London in 1949, the London Declaration said that republics and other countries could be part of the Commonwealth. The modern Commonwealth of Nations was born.
Recognised that the peace and prosperity of the free world could not be assured while millions live in poverty.
Proclaimed that expanded human understanding and understanding among nations will help the elimination of discrimination based on differences of race, colour or creed.
Proclaimed desire to achieve equal rights for all citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, creed or political belief.
Re-asserted the Commonwealth’s principles of economic justice in that gross inequality of wealth and opportunity are fundamental sources of tension and instability in the world.
Asserted the promotion of peace, disarmament and the resolution of disputes through negotiation in response to the readiness of nations to resort to the illegal use of force.
Recognised the United Nations as the central instrument of international co-operation for development, peace and collective security.
A call to develop a more open, viable and durable multilateral trading system to promote growth and development in response to rising global protectionist pressures.
Commitment to achieving sustainable economic development through collective and national action whilst confronting critical environmental problems.
Charting a course to take the Commonwealth into the next century which included a ten point pledge listing areas for priority action.
Endorsing a broader approach to economic adjustment to include an emphasis on social equity and economic growth as well as efficiency.
Adoption of a Commonwealth action programme to fulfil more effectively the commitments in the Harare Declaration.
Advocated that special measures were needed to help the integration of countries, especially small states and least developed countries to address uneven development.
Declaration on channelling the forces of globalisation towards the elimination of poverty and the empowerment of human beings.
A renewal of commitment to the values and principles shared by Commonwealth countries in the 21st century.
A commitment to strengthen development and democracy, through partnership for peace and prosperity.
A proclamation that shared values, institutions and conventions provide a platform on which to build and consolidate the foundations of democracy in our societies.
Reaffirmation of the Commonwealth’s commitment to transforming societies to achieve political, economic and human development.
Proposed that climate change presents an undisputed threat to the security, prosperity, economic and social development of people.
Acknowledged the key role of Commonwealth partnerships in forging a more sustainable and equitable future for all people.
Recognition of the role and active contributions of young people in promoting development, peace and democracy, and in protecting and promoting other Commonwealth values.
Reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, consistent with the growing realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
Recognition that investing in young people and placing them at the centre of sustainable and inclusive development is the foundation for a prosperous and equitable tomorrow.
An agreement that the achievement of growth with equity and inclusivity must be one of the main policy priorities for the Commonwealth.
Recognised the potential for a free, open, inclusive and secure cyberspace to promote economic growth for all communities and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals across the Commonwealth.
Stressed the importance of international trade and investment in boosting employment and income in Commonwealth countries and helping them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.