A general debate on ‘The Commonwealth in 2020’ has been scheduled for Monday 9 March 2020 in the Main Chamber.

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The modern Commonwealth was established in April 1949 with the signing of the London Declaration.

There are now 54 countries in the Commonwealth, with a combined population of 2.4 billion. More than 60 per cent of that population is aged 29 or under.

The combined GDP of Commonwealth countries was estimated at $10.4 trillion in 2017 and is predicted to reach $13 trillion in 2020. Half of the top 20 global emerging cities are in Commonwealth countries. 

Yet, many small and developing Commonwealth countries are also among those with the lowest ecological footprint worldwide. 32 Commonwealth countries are classed as ‘small states’, which are especially vulnerable to things like climate change or developmental challenges.

Commonwealth Day, which is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth of nations, is held on the second Monday in March every year. This year it will fall on 9 March and will be marked by a multicultural, multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey. 

Every two years the leaders of Commonwealth nations also come together to discuss issues affecting the Commonwealth and to shape Commonwealth policies and priorities. All members have an equal say, regardless of their size or wealth, which ensures that even the smallest countries have a voice. The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is due to take place in Rwanda in June 2020 (CHOGM20).

The theme for Commonwealth Day, CHOGM20, and for the work of the Commonwealth more generally in 2020, is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. The theme was chosen because the governments and people within the diverse family of Commonwealth nations “connect at many levels through extensive and deep-rooted networks of friendship and goodwill”. At CHOGM20 leaders will discuss how to deliver the recommendations of CHOGM 2018, which was on the theme ‘Towards a Common Future’. 

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