The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is celebrating Commonwealth Day 2021 across the CPA’s nine Regions and over 180 Parliaments and Legislatures. The 2021 Commonwealth Day theme focuses on ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’ which offers opportunities for the people, Parliaments, governments and institutions of the Commonwealth to connect and work together at many levels through far-reaching and deep-rooted networks of friendship and goodwill.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, released her Commonwealth Day message in which she spoke of the diversity of the people and countries that make up the Commonwealth and its ability to deliver a common future for all. The traditional Westminster Abbey Service for Commonwealth Day was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please click here to view/read Her Majesty The Queen’s Commonwealth Day 2021 message. A copy of the message is also attached.
Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, Chairperson of the CPA International Executive Committee and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon released a Commonwealth Day message on behalf of the CPA and said: “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.”
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg added: “I am pleased to celebrate Commonwealth Day 2021 – my first as the CPA’s Secretary-General. Today, we have an opportunity to reflect on the diversity of the Commonwealth. In particular, as it is also International Women’s Day, I pay tribute to the hard work of women Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth. Additionally, I am delighted to highlight the importance of engaging young people and the relaunch of CPA’s Youth Engagement Pack. As we look to the future, the Commonwealth has a responsibility to listen to diverse voices including women and young people.”
The CPA Headquarters Secretariat has updated and re-launched its Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement Pack in advance of Commonwealth Day. The pack was first launched in 2020 to support parliamentary outreach activities on Commonwealth Day. It has been updated with ideas and resources that provide options for virtual activities in recognition of the lockdowns currently in place in many Commonwealth jurisdictions due to COVID-19. The pack features:
- A handbook outlining potential activities for Commonwealth Day
- A series of tools to use on Commonwealth Day, such as a quiz, factsheet and activity cards
- A leaflet with further information on this year’s Commonwealth Day theme
To download the CPA Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement Pack, click here.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated annually on the second Monday of March. Although Commonwealth Day celebrations may be limited this year due the current global pandemic, the CPA and its CPA Branches are still hosting a series of online and virtual events. Reports on these events will feature in the next issue of The Parliamentarian. The CPA Secretariat hosted a Youth Activism workshop, focussing on the need to involve young people in our efforts to deliver a common future.
This year, Commonwealth Day also coincides with International Women’s Day. To find out more about the activities of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians network in celebration of International Women’s Day, click here.