Explore our ‘From the Archive’ series, which delves into the Commonwealth’s history to spotlight major milestones and achievements over the past 50 years.

Sanctions agreed against apartheid-era South Africa

August 1986: Commonwealth puts pressure on white minority rule government.

The birth of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation

Plans by Arnold Smith, the first Commonwealth Secretary-General, to provide Commonwealth countries with a fund for multilateral aid came to fruition in the early 1970s.

The Holdgate Report on climate change

Landmark Commonwealth study gave world a ‘wake-up call’ on climate change and sea level rise.

Harare Declaration
The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was issued by Heads of Governments at their biennial Meeting in Zimbabwe on 20 October 1991

Harare Declaration sets out fundamental values

Commonwealth vows to safeguard democracy and human rights.

Gleneagles Agreement on Sport

Landmark accord banning sport contacts mounts pressure on apartheid-era South Africa.

Commonwealth highlights debt crisis in developing countries

Finance ministers welcome major Commonwealth report on the debt crisis.

Lusaka Declaration
The Lusaka Declaration was reached at a gathering of Commonwealth leaders in the Zambian capital

Commonwealth Lusaka Declaration on Racism

Accord on racism sets out Commonwealth duty to tackle discrimination and apartheid.

Alliances can create ‘responsible and just world society’

Commonwealth Parliamentarians heard how it was in their “common interest” to strengthen regional alliances.