On Monday 11th March 2019 we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration , a moment when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members to foster co-operation towards social, political and economic development in an inclusive as well as sustainable manner. Over the years our Commonwealth has grown and become a pillar of strength for many, if not all, of its members.
Seventy years later the Commonwealth has indeed delivered and continues to deliver valiantly on its goals of ensuring significant advancements in education, gender equality, economic development, sports, youth development, leadership, democracy and appreciation of cultural diversity within it’s member nations.
One of the greatest roles the Commonwealth has played is as an advocate and defender of small states. The Commonwealth has been a recognized intergovernmental champion of small states, advocating for their special needs; providing policy advice on political, economic, and social development issues; and delivering technical assistance. In essence Britannia has used the Commonwealth as a tool to ensure that her former Colonies are always on the right path to self sustenance. In the past many small states, which are defined as having populations below one million, faced issues of brain drains, lack of economic resources to motivate their work force or appeal to highly skilled individuals as well as develop proper public administration services and deliver proper economic diversification. However, thanks to the Commonwealth, these issues are being effectively addressed and in many cases eradicated.
In assessing the success and delivery of the Commonwealth one has to assess the critical role the UK has played. The United Kingdom’s commitment, unwavering support and contribution to our Commonwealth is quite invaluable as she continues to be a “strong shoulder” of support for many of our nations. The United Kingdom each year continues to allocate millions of pounds out of its own budget towards supporting and aiding intrinsic sustainable development within many member nations. The UK’s commitment goes beyond the call of duty as she has always stood alongside her former colonies to ensure their welfare and ability to attain a proper standard of living for their citizens by undertaking programs which impact rural communities, urban areas, entrepreneurial development, poverty reduction, female empowerment and good governance. So on this the seventieth anniversary of the Commonwealth we must say “thank you United Kingdom”.
In essence the Commonwealth has been one of the tools the UK has used to still look after and assist her former colonies.
Our Commonwealth has had many achievements and as we move forward will have much more due to the common wealth of knowledge, talents, skills and vision all 53 member nations share with each other. We must be proud that our Commonwealth continues to grow and continues to consistently evolve to address the contemporary needs of our global community.
As we look on to the future, another significant role for the Commonwealth would be to provide POST-BREXIT support. No one knows how Brexit will pan out given the deliberations in the UK Parliament, but one thing is for sure leave has to mean leave if we are to uphold the principles of democracy. Therefore, two weeks before the UK officially leaves the EU, the Commonwealth offers a host of sustainable markets which could enhance and support the UK’s success after Brexit.
On this special day we must take the time to congratulate her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who continues to head the Commonwealth with determination and vigor. We must also offer sincere regards to Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth for her dynamic work.
As we seek to keep the Commonwealth spirit, values, passion and drive for development alive we must also acknowledge the vital and inspirational work of Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the work his dedicated team continue to undertake.
May God bless our Commonwealth of nations.