Commonwealth nations celebrate 75-year milestone

More than 56 nations will celebrate the occasion throughout this week, with representatives attending an event at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London…reports Asian Lite News

Today, 56 of the world’s largest countries and smallest islands, across six oceans, continue to stand united and celebrate the shared values for Commonwealth Day.

Commonwealth Day is traditionally celebrated on the second Monday in March. The theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day and the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth’.

More than 56 nations will celebrate the occasion throughout this week, with representatives attending an event at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London.

This year’s staging is especially significant as the modern Commonwealth will celebrate its 75th anniversary in April.

At a Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ meeting in London on April 26, 1949, the London Declaration said that republics and other independent countries could be equal members of the Commonwealth. Thus, the modern Commonwealth of Nations was born.

King Charles III said in his Commonwealth Day video message: “The Commonwealth family is strongest when we are connected through friendship. As I have said before, the Commonwealth is like the wiring of a house, and its people, our energy and our ideas are the current that runs through those wires.

“Together and individually, we are strengthened by sharing perspectives and experiences, and by offering and borrowing the myriad ways we have each tackled the challenges of our time.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland KC, emphasised the value, power, and potential of the Commonwealth family in her Commonwealth Day address.

“Together, we have built a Commonwealth which is fit for the times we live in — stronger, more connected and more influential than ever; capable of rising to the world’s challenges, innovating to seize new opportunities, and working together to shape a more peaceful, resilient and prosperous common future.”

Throughout the world, civic events, educational activities, and cultural gatherings will take place to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

The Commonwealth nations will come together later this year in October for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa, which will be the first small island developing state from the Pacific to host the CHOGM.

Secretary General hails India’s vital role  

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on Monday termed digitalisation innovation in India as “extraordinary”, and highlighted how the commonwealth countries are benefiting from the technology and expertise by India.

Sharing her thoughts on globalization and digitalization, Secretary General Scotland spoke ahead of the 2024 Commonwealth Law Ministers meeting that is scheduled to take place in Zanzibar, Tanzania from Monday.

Underlining India’s vital role in digiltalisation, Scotland stressed that India has brought extraordinary innovations for digitalization and is making an “incredible contribution to the Commonwealth family”.

“India represents almost a half of the Commonwealth because India is now almost 1.4 billion and the innovations that India has brought in for digitalization, has been extraordinary. And many of our countries have really taken advantage of this opportunity. The innovation coming out of India has been really not just advantageous to India itself, but because of India’s willingness to share her technology to share her expertise,” she said.

Scotland added, “This has really benefited all of our Commonwealth. So, India is making an incredible contribution to our Commonwealth family, and we are really grateful that she is sharing everything she has.”

The 2024 Commonwealth Law Ministers meeting, hosted by the Republic of Tanzania, will focus on the theme ‘Technology and Innovation: How digitalisation paves the way for the development of people-centred access to justice’.

During the meeting, law ministers and attorneys-general from across the Commonwealth will discuss recent legal developments in their jurisdictions and explore responses to emerging justice issues affecting Commonwealth citizens.

The meeting agenda will cover a wide range of issues, including digital assets, electronic resources for efficient legal systems, the protection of women and girls, strengthened access to justice for people with disabilities and developments in climate policy and legislation.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General also lauded India’s move of including the African Union as a member of G20.

“Some of our least developed countries have been extraordinarily innovative. If you think about the contribution that has been made by so many in our region, in the Commonwealth, in the Commonwealth Caribbean, I think we have one of the highest per capita Nobel laureates. So, … every one of us is giving, what we have to, and India’s contribution has been extraordinary. Ofcourse, India’s G20. Which meant that India joined Africa to the G20 and made it G21. A very important contribution from your beautiful country,” Scotland stated.

King Charles lauds work

King Charles hailed the work of the Commonwealth in its 75th anniversary year on Monday, although the British monarch was absent from annual celebrations for the organisation he leads as he recuperates from cancer treatment.

The Commonwealth Day events are the most significant annual royal occasion that Charles, 75, has missed since he was forced to postpone public appearances while he undergoes treatment for an unspecified form of cancer.

His wife Queen Camilla instead led senior royals at a service at London’s Westminster Abbey, which was to be followed by a reception at the Commonwealth’s international headquarters.

Usually a highlight of the royal calendar, Monday’s event was also overshadowed by a furore over a picture released on Sunday by Kate, 42, wife of heir to the throne Prince William.

She apologised on Monday for issuing an edited photograph of herself with the couple’s three children after several leading news organisations including Reuters withdrew it, saying it did not meet their editorial standards.

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