Each year, citizens of the 54 Commonwealth countries come together to mark
Commonwealth Day. This annual day of celebration is an opportunity for everyone in the Commonwealth to reiterate our shared goals, to recognise our diversity, and to renew our commitment to the enduring values of the Commonwealth.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have physically separated many of us this year, but the bond that connects the various peoples of the Commonwealth remains strong. Now more than ever, we must remain united and act collectively in order to deliver a common future.
With our membership of over 17,000 Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff spread across more than 180 Parliaments and Legislatures, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) continues to promote the importance of parliamentary democracy and its value within our societies and our global community.
As Parliamentarians, we are the representatives of our communities and as such it is our duty to give a voice to the voiceless and to provide a channel for those who are not yet represented within our Parliaments.
As the Commonwealth Charter states – “the special strength of the Commonwealth lies in the combination of our diversity and our shared inheritance in language, culture and the rule of law; and bound together by shared history and tradition; by respect for all states and peoples; by shared values and principles and by concern for the vulnerable.”
The theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day is ‘Delivering a common future: connecting, innovating and transforming’ and this mission lies at heart of what we do at the CPA.
Through our Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians network, we connect women leaders in public office to work together towards gender equality and to highlight issues affecting women across the world. This year, Commonwealth Day coincides with International Women’s Day. Across the Commonwealth, women Parliamentarians will be
taking part in a wide range of activities and programmes to celebrate women’s achievements, to raise awareness against bias and to take action in working towards equality.
Through our CPA Small Branches network, we support small Parliaments to innovate in response to systemic global challenges, such as climate change. On Commonwealth Day, we recognise the unique needs of the smallest jurisdictions and this year, we also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the network and its great achievements to date.
And through our newly formed Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities network, we champion the transformation of Parliaments into accessible spaces for persons with disabilities and we strive to increase the levels of representation for persons with disabilities in our Legislatures.
Our common future must be both built for, and shaped by, young people. Of the 2.4 billion citizens of the Commonwealth, 60% are under 30 years of age, making youth development a universal priority. In recognition of this, the CPA Headquarters Secretariat is hosting a Commonwealth Day virtual workshop on ‘Youthquakes and Rising Youth Activism in the Commonwealth’, to discuss how Parliaments can increase the involvement of young people in the decisions that will mould their future.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association affirms its belief in the Commonwealth as a powerful influence for good in the world. We are committed to delivering a common future for all through our continued promotion and strengthening of parliamentary democracy.