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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland

Multilateralism remains a powerful agent of positive change, says Secretary-General

17 May 2019

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has underscored the global benefits of multilateral cooperation through the Commonwealth and other international bodies.

She was delivering the Global Strategy Forum lecture to an audience of high commissioners, ambassadors, other representatives from governments and representatives from international organisations. Based in London, the Forum is an independent, non-party political organisation, dedicated to the promotion of fresh thinking and active debate on foreign affairs, defence and international security.

Outlining the power of multilateral organisations to help develop, coordinate and implement solutions to pressing global challenges such as climate change, barriers to effective trade and gender inequalities, the Secretary-General said, “A few days ago we marked the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, by which our founding eight nations came together in 1949 to declare that we would ‘remain united as free and equal members of the Commonwealth of Nations, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress’.

“At this time when multilateralism is under threat - and I think it has never been so under threat as it is today - and nationalism and narrow self-interest are on the rise, the Commonwealth shines as a beacon of hope and promise.

“By demonstrating the practical benefits of international collaboration and combined purpose, Commonwealth connection and collaboration deepen understanding of how as countries, as communities and as individuals we are interdependent and mutually supporting.”

Lord Lothian, who chaired the Forum, described the Commonwealth as “a great basis for creating unity where there is discord”. He praised the Secretary-General’s inspiring lecture and her “great knowledge of the Commonwealth”.

 Read the Secretary-General’s full lecture