Leaders attend Commonwealth reception at UNGA ahead of next year’s CHOGM

Leaders from across the Commonwealth gathered for a reception co-hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Muscat of Malta at the UN General Assembly in New York, together with Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.  They were joined by young people from across the Commonwealth who shared their vision for its future.

The UK Prime Minister said:

“As we look forward to the Heads of Government meeting, which will be taking place in London and Windsor next year, we have an ambitious phase of work ahead of us. Together we have the chance to build a reformed and revitalised Commonwealth. That will not be the work of a single summit, it can only be built over time and by sustained effort, close partnership and positive collaboration.

I hope that we can come together as a Commonwealth family and seize the opportunity to drive forward the necessary reforms. The prize, if we succeed in this collaborative effort will be a rejuvenated Commonwealth, better able to answer the aspirations of its citizens, especially its young citizens. Malta started this important process in Valletta. The UK is determined to help carry forward that agenda for the long term.”

Addressing the reception, Secretary-General Scotland said:

“We have the most wonderful opportunity here together as a Commonwealth family. We live in troubled and troubling times, and one of the most wonderful opportunities we have is to share our common values, our common future and our common determination to have a world which is worth living, for our children.”

Angelique Pouponneau from Seychelles, co-chair of the Youth Task Forum said:

“We are living through an era where the chaotic state of affairs is slowly becoming the norm. But despite that, young people and member governments continue to make significant contributions towards making the Commonwealth safe, fairer, more prosperous and more sustainable.”

Leon Ward from the UK, co-chair of the Youth Task Forum said:

“To protect our Commonwealth, we have to change it. To make our Commonwealth relevant, states must start pushing one another to change and to improve. It is in the interests of all Commonwealth states to do this. I call on all of you across our Commonwealth to be bolder and truly to be a force for good. Your Commonwealth, my Commonwealth and our Commonwealth are waiting on you to deliver.”

The Prime Minister launched the theme and priorities for the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – Towards a Common Future  - where leaders will come together to respond to global challenges faced by member states and focus on delivering for its 2.4 billion citizens, particularly its youth that accounts for 60% of the population.    

The official logo was also unveiled. The design features 52 hexagons reflecting each of the member states. The various colours, inspired by the colour palette drawn from each country’s flags. All shapes have six equal sides reflecting that each member state has an equal voice and the six continents represented in the Commonwealth.

Read Theresa May's full speech at the reception here.