The ambition

During the week of 16th April, leaders will attend working sessions to discuss shared global challenges, attend a dinner hosted by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace and gather at Windsor Castle for the Leaders’ Retreat - a day when leaders engage in frank dialogue and set the course for future Commonwealth co-operation.

In the run-up to the meeting at the end of the week, leaders’ discussions will be informed and enriched by a variety of events. These will centre on the forums for ‘people’, ‘business’, ‘women’ and ‘youth’.

The week will also see the UK succeed Malta as ‘Chair-In-Office” of the Commonwealth until 2020.

The summit’s theme is: ‘Towards a common future’ and is focused on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth to ensure this unique organisation is responsive to global challenges and delivers a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all its citizens, particularly its young people.

The future of the Commonwealth depends on its one billion young people and the summit's priorities will have a strong youth focus.

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.

Across the Commonwealth, member states face common challenges: weak global trade and investment flows; new cross-border security threats; the effects of climate change on small and other vulnerable states; threats to our shared values of democracy, good governance and inclusivity as set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

The Commonwealth’s various constituencies  – be it the Commonwealth Secretariat, its members or its myriad of organisations and networks – mean it is uniquely placed to respond to these challenges.

At the summit, leaders will come together to focus on delivering: 

A more sustainable future

Without urgent action to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, the impacts of climate change could push an additional 100 million people across the world into poverty by 2030.  This is particularly relevant for the Commonwealth as 38 of our 52 members are small or other vulnerable states.  Each year across the Commonwealth, natural disasters affect 28 million people and cause economic losses of almost $8bn.

The Commonwealth is well placed to take action, underlining our on-going commitment to tackling climate change, protecting the environment and increasing the resilience of our members.

A fairer future

The Commonwealth has a proud history of taking action to promote and protect democratic principles. The Commonwealth Charter sets out a shared vision of democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law to which we all subscribe. By upholding and promoting those principles we can ensure a fairer future for all members of the Commonwealth, and provide the essential basis for sustainable development.

A more secure future

The unprecedented security threats we face are a shared 21st century issue. Challenges of terrorism, serious organised crime, cyber crime, violent extremism and human trafficking ignore borders and can only be addressed by increased multilateral action and cooperation. Commonwealth member states are ideally placed to partner, aid and learn from each other in tackling these threats.

A more prosperous future

The Commonwealth contains a diverse group of countries, including many of the largest and smallest economies in the world.  It is home to half of the globe’s top emerging cities and, with a combined population of 2.4 billion people, nearly a third of the global population.

By working together, we can promote trade and investment as a means to drive economic growth, create jobs, and ensure the prosperity of our citizens.