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Commonwealth Meeting

It is that time again when it is not quite the UN, but nevertheless a world event that creates a buzz for the countries of the Commonwealth. Diplomacy is the key as politicians manoeuvre to be seen, get seen and be seen with the leaders they feel they will not cause a diplomatic upheaval.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting begins in London. This year it will the UK who succeed Malta as the Chair in Office of the Commonwealth until 2020.

Prime Minister Modi of India is expected to attend with a huge fanfare as his popularity continues to rise in India as well as the Indian diaspora all over the world. PM Modi is building strong relationships with international partnerships. However, with it comes the critics who are remonstrating regarding the highly sensitive issues of Kashmir and human rights. There is also the usual diplomatic touchiness of Indian and Pakistani politicians co-existing at the same place at the same time.

Consisting of 53 nations, the Commonwealth has had a history of promoting peace, democracy and human rights. For example in helping to bring about the end to apartheid in South Africa and the end to violence and emergency rule in Pakistan in 2007. It has observed over 140 elections in more than 40 countries since 1980 according to its own literature.

This year’s Summit is headlined as ‘Towards a common future’. The talks will relate to dealing with the global challenges and how deliver a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all commonwealth citizens.

The key demographic target is the youth of today which will account one in seven of people.  The summit will aim to build links between countries to offer young people access to knowledge and skills; and give them a voice on key issues such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Her majesty, The Queen together with the other Royals will roll out the red carpet for the Commonwealth leaders with a reception at Buckingham Palace on April 19.

The Queen, who as the head of the Commonwealth, will give a speech and officially declare the opening. King Charles who is the next in line of the throne of the monarchy, but not automatically inherit his mother’s Commonwealth title will also offer words of welcome.

There will also be speeches from Prime Minister Theresa May, the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of Malta, as the outgoing Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. In keeping with tradition, the ceremony will end with a photograph of the Commonwealth family.

Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, looks forward to welcoming the Commonwealth leaders into Her Majesty’s homes in London and Windsor.

“The Queen and the royal family have a deep affection for, and enduring belief in the Commonwealth, its values, and what binds it together as a global network of 53 countries.”

On Saturday April 21, the Queen and the royals will celebrate the monarch’s 92nd birthday with a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

The key discussion points:

a. Environment

The urgency of climate change and its impact on world poverty pushing another 100 million below the poverty threshold.

b. Democracy

Continuous promotion and protection of democratic principles

c. Security

Tackling security threats amidst terrorism, serious organised crime, cyber-crime, violent extremism and human trafficking.

d. Economy

Working together for better economic dev elopment for a more prosperous future for the Commonwealth countries who account for one third of the global population.

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