Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018

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25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
CHOGM 2018
CHOGM 2018 logo.png
Host country United Kingdom
Dates19–20 April 2018[1]
Venue(s)Buckingham Palace, Lancaster House, and Windsor Castle (retreat)
CitiesLondon and Windsor, England
ChairTheresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
FollowsCHOGM 2015
PrecedesCHOGM 2021
Key points
Head of the Commonwealth succession; Commonwealth Blue Charter on ocean conservation and plastic waste; trade and investment, Commonwealth Cyber Declaration
Theresa May speaks as chair of the meeting

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018, also known as CHOGM 2018, was the 25th meeting of the heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in the United Kingdom. The meeting had been planned to have been held by Vanuatu at the end of 2017, but was moved to the United Kingdom after the impact of Cyclone Pam on the infrastructure of Vanuatu. The meeting was then postponed to April 2018 due to other international commitments.[2]

The position of Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, held by the government leader of the CHOGM host country, was transferred at the summit from the Prime Minister of Malta to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who will hold the post until the 26th CHOGM (expected in 2021).[3]


The theme of the summit was "Towards a Common Future". The British hosts set out four main goals for the summit:[1]

  • prosperity: boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment
  • security: increasing cooperation across security challenges including global terrorism, organised crime and cyber attacks
  • fairness: promoting democracy, fundamental freedoms and good governance across the Commonwealth
  • sustainability: building the resilience of small and vulnerable states to deal with the effects of climate change and other global crises

Under consideration were: A Commonwealth Blue Charter on ocean governance, a Commonwealth connectivity agenda for trade and investment, a declaration on cybercrime, and revised Commonwealth guidelines on election observation in member countries.[4][5]


This was the first CHOGM held following the United Kingdom's decision to withdraw from the European Union, a decision which has resulted in calls for Britain to strengthen its economic ties with and play a greater role in the Commonwealth.[6] The Commonwealth, as of 2018, was responsible for one-tenth of British trade compare to the EU with which the UK currently conducts half of its trade. Intra-Commonwealth trade, overall, is expected to increase by at least 17% to around US$700 billion by 2020.[7]

The British government reportedly hoped to use the CHOGM to open negotiations for expanded trade with Commonwealth nations to replace lost trade with the EU, however, as the summit began The Economist dismissed the belief that the Commonwealth could fill the gap created by Brexit as “an amiable delusion”.

Head of the Commonwealth and the Royal Family[edit]

The succession of the Headship of the Commonwealth,[8] and the roles of other members of the Royal Family[9] was discussed, and a proposal to nominate Queen Elizabeth II for the Nobel Peace Prize is also expected to feature in discussions.[10]

At a speech welcoming Commonwealth leaders to Buckingham Palace on the first day of the summit, the Queen said "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949."[11]

On 20 April, the second day of the summit, the Commonwealth leaders agreed that Prince Charles would succeed the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.[12][13]

LGBT rights[edit]

The British government was accused by LGBT activists of backing away from plans to make LGBT rights in the Commonwealth of Nations an issue during the summit. Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 37 out of 53 Commonwealth states. LGBT-rights campaigners from the UK and across the Commonwealth picketed Marlborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, on 19 April in order to draw attention to the issue.[14] UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech to Commonwealth leaders that she "deeply regrets" Britain's role in having same-sex conduct criminalized in colonial laws that remain in force in many Commonwealth countries, saying of these laws that “They were wrong then and they are wrong now” and that the UK government supports the reform of these laws in former colonies.[15][16]

Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance[edit]

The UK promised to spend £61m to combat the pollution of the world's oceans by plastics and announced that it would ban plastic straws, microbeads, and other waste and to help developing countries curb plastics and other environmental pollutants from contaminating the oceans, and urged other Commonwealth countries to do the same. Five countries have joined the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance: the UK, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Ghana.[11][17][18]

Commonwealth Cyber Declaration[edit]

The Commonwealth unanimously adopted the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration with leaders agreeing to work closely to strengthen their cybersecurity frameworks and response mechanisms by 2020.[19]

Notable attendees[edit]

Foreign ministers present at CHOGM 2018

Overall, 47 out of 53 Commonwealth states were represented at the summit by their heads of government, with foreign ministers being the most senior attendees of the remaining countries.[11][26]


The leaders issued a Communiqué at the close of the summit in which they:

  • committed their countries to ratifying and implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,[27]
  • "mainstream youth priorities into national development policies and plans",[27]
  • "address the stigma around disability in all its forms and manifestations",[27]
  • agreed to Report of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Commonwealth's fundamental political values,[27]
  • adopted the Revised Commonwealth Guidelines on Election Observation in Member Countries[27]
  • called for strengthening the international response to the large movement of refugees, including return to their country of origin in safety and dignity[27]
  • "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"[27]
  • adopted the Commonwealth Blue Charter on sustainable development and protection of the world's oceans[27]
  • 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"[27]
  • called for a strengthening of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention [27]
  • agreed to work together to combat climate change – particularly with reference to "small island developing states"[28]
  • to coordinate efforts countering extremism as well as human trafficking.[28]
  • agreed that Rwanda will host the next CHOGM in 2020 and that Samoa would host the CHOGM 2022.[27]

The leaders also issued a statement announcing their decision that Prince Charles will be the next Head of the Commonwealth.[29]

Commonwealth Forums[edit]

Parallel Commonwealth Summit Forums were held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre from 16 to 19 April, with 5,000 participants attending from government, business, and civil society engaged in Women's, Youth, and Peoples Forums with a Business Forum being held at Guildhall.[30] A joint plenary of all four fora was held for the first time on 17 April.[4][needs update]

The Commonwealth Summit Forums saw participation from a number of Commonwealth heads of government and ministers. UK Prime Minister Theresa May opened the Business Forum on 16 April 2018 [31] and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a keynote address at the Business Forum Banquet.[32]

Various members of the royal family—including The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex— hosted and participated in various receptions and events being held as part of the forums or the heads of government meeting itself.[33][34] Prince Harry, in his new role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, opened the Youth Forum telling delegates: "In my new role, I will work to support the Queen, my father the Prince of Wales, and my brother William, all of whom know that young people are the answer to the challenges of today."[35]

On the final day of the meeting, Prince Harry and Markle attended a reception to promote women's empowerment and girls' education.[36]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "PM to call for revitalised Commonwealth at reception ahead of 2018 Heads of Government Meeting – GOV.UK".
  2. ^ "Britain to host next Commonwealth summit in 2018". Global Post. Agence Frace Presse. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Our History". The Commonwealth. The Commonwealth. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b "CHOGM summit to begin next week". Business Standard. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Anglican Communion to play active role in next week's Commonwealth leaders' meeting". Anglican Communion News Service. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  6. ^ (, Site designed and built by Hydrant. "Brexit and the Commonwealth – The Commonwealth".
  7. ^ "Britain hoping for Brexit boost from Commonwealth summit". Free Malaysia Today. Agence France Presse. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  8. ^ Landale, James (13 February 2018). "Commonwealth in secret succession plans". BBC News. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  9. ^ Nikkhah, Roya, Royal Correspondent (18 February 2018). "Prince Harry to take Commonwealth role". The Times. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  10. ^ Ilse, Jess (16 April 2018). "What is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting? (blog)". Royal Central.
  11. ^ a b c "Commonwealth meeting: Queen hopes Prince Charles will succeed her". BBC News. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Charles 'to be next Commonwealth head'". BBC News. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Prince Charles to succeed Queen as Commonwealth head". Sky News. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  14. ^ Quinn, Ben (14 April 2018). "UK rows back on plans to promote gay rights at Commonwealth summit". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  15. ^ Jain, Sagaree (18 April 2018). "Theresa May 'Deeply Regrets' Colonial Anti-LGBT Laws". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  16. ^ Crerar, Pippa (17 April 2018). "Theresa May says she deeply regrets Britain's legacy of anti-gay laws". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Government promises £61m to tackle scourge of ocean plastic pollution with Commonwealth nations". The Independent. 15 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Britain urges Australia and the Commonwealth to tackle plastic waste". ABC News. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Lewis, Ben; Elton-Pym, James (16 April 2018). "Who should replace the Queen? Just one topic on the CHOGM agenda". SBS News. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Modi and CHOGM 2018: Reimagining the Commonwealth". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  22. ^ France-Presse, Agence (21 April 2018). "South Africa riots force president to leave Commonwealth summit". the Guardian.
  23. ^ AFP (16 April 2018). "Zimbabwe heads to Commonwealth summit to 're-engage'". The Citizen. South Africa. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  24. ^ James, William. "Britain wants Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth, but eyes July..."
  25. ^ "Zimbabwe denied C'wealth observer status". Zimbabwe Independent. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  26. ^ PA (20 April 2018). "Queen winding down Commonwealth duties, suggests Ghana president". BT. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k
  28. ^ a b Walker, Peter (20 April 2018). "Prince Charles to be next head of Commonwealth". the Guardian.
  29. ^[permanent dead link]
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Samhan, Jamie (12 April 2018). "Meghan Markle to join Prince Harry at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings". Royal Central. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  34. ^ Nicholl, Katie (April 2018). "Meghan Markle takes on a new, and highly unusual, Royal duty". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  35. ^ Heffer, Greg (16 April 2018). "Cheers as Prince Harry praises Meghan Markle at Commonwealth summit". Sky News. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  36. ^ Kindelan, Katie; Durand, Carolyn (19 April 2018). "Meghan Markle joins Prince Harry in support of women's empowerment". ABC News. Retrieved 20 April 2018.