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Commonwealth Secretary-General: Perth CHOGM will rejuvenate the association

27 October 2011
A vibrant Commonwealth bonded by shared values is key to its strength: PM Gillard

The collective decisions by Commonwealth leaders at their summit meeting in Perth, Australia, from 28 to 30 October 2011 will give the association a boost and breathe fresh life and bring new energy to the Commonwealth's agenda of reform, renewal and resilience.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma told the media at a news conference in Perth on 27 October that the Commonwealth collaborates on multiple levels, culminating in building a consensus on contemporary concerns.

He stated that the 54-member association is charting a significant way forward on the issue of building national and global resilience, which is the theme of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth. He stressed that national and global resilience are intertwined and interdependent.

"The aim is to build consensus on contemporary concerns, striving to strengthen the culture of democracy, to promote resilience and sustainable development, and to embrace and celebrate diversity," said the Secretary-General. "This will make a difference in the lives of our citizens. This CHOGM will raise the bar for our engagement on each of our three aspirations - democracy, development and diversity. The programmes we devise here will see their expression in practical action that changes for the better the lives of millions of people in all our member countries. The consensus agreed here and the solutions achieved here are something which will have global potential, which can contribute to the outcomes of other global summits. Commonwealth priorities naturally pay special attention to reflecting and articulating the concerns of small and vulnerable states."

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who also addressed the joint news conference, said the Commonwealth is about bringing people together, not just government and leaders.

"Our unique strengths and diversity - from the smallest nations to very large, and its representativeness with 54 states across six continents; its vibrancy and promise - are bonded by common values," said the Prime Minister. "Organisations such as the Commonwealth bring countries together to discuss issues such as food security, climate change and sustainable development."