Towards a Common Future
“Towards a Common Future” was the Communiqué of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 (CHOGM 2018) held in the United Kingdom from 19 to 20 April 2018 where the Commonwealth Heads of Government met and discussed how the Commonwealth can contribute to a future which is fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous. At CHOGM 2018 Heads made the following political commitments and agreed to these practical actions:
- A Fairer Future: Heads affirmed their unwavering commitment to the Commonwealth’s Fundamental Political Values, reflected in the Commonwealth Charter
- Gender Equality and Inclusion: Heads committed to ratifying and implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in social, economic and political life.
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Heads highlighted the seminal role of ICT and Science, Technology and Innovation in supporting good governance, promoting inclusion and sustainable development, and reducing the digital divide.
- Strengthening Democratic Institutions and Promoting Peace: As globally agreed under Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive national institutions, at all levels, are essential for development to flourish. Heads welcomed the recent establishment of the Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform (OCCJR) and its role in providing support to member countries in the creation of effective national laws.
- Migration: Heads recognised that safe, regular, and responsible migration, with full respect for international human rights obligations, can deliver socio-economic benefits and improve the resilience and inclusive growth of member countries and lead to sustainable development. They welcomed the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. They called for active involvement in the lead up to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
- A More Prosperous Future Multilateral Trading System: Heads were particularly concerned about the risks of protectionism to the global economy and underlined the importance of resisting all forms of protectionism. They reaffirmed their commitment to free trade in a transparent, inclusive, fair, and open rules-based multilateral trading system, which takes into account the special requirements of least developed countries and small and vulnerable economies.
- Intra-Commonwealth Trade and Investment: With the goal of expanding investment and boosting intra-Commonwealth trade to US$2 Trillion by 2030, Heads adopted a Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment and mandated the Secretariat to develop an accompanying action plan that considers capacity building and hard and soft connectivity.
- Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth: To promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, Heads resolved to address systemic barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy by taking a gender-responsive approach to the development of trade policy, and to promote women’s economic empowerment.
- A More Sustainable Future Vulnerability and Climate Change: Heads expressed grave concern that without urgent action to mitigate climate change, reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, the impacts of climate change could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
- Natural Disasters: Heads expressed deep concern about the increasingly devastating impact of natural disasters on people and property across the Commonwealth, especially among the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.
- Sustainable Development of Oceans: Heads highlighted the close linkages between the ocean, wellbeing and prosperity of the people of the Commonwealth, and recognised the opportunities for sustainable economic development from the ocean and coasts.
- Sustainable Use of Energy and Natural Resources: Heads committed to work together for the prudent and sustainable use of energy and natural resources and recognised the critical importance of sustainable energy to economic development.
- A More Secure Future Cyber: Recognising the need to work in consultation with each other to enhance cyber security to protect critical national infrastructure, and the economic and social value of cyberspace, Heads adopted a Commonwealth Cyber Declaration that reflects Commonwealth values, and sets out a common commitment to an open, democratic peaceful and secure internet, respecting human rights and freedom of expression.
- Chemical Weapons: Heads opposed the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances and are committed to strengthening the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.