Focus on a common future for young people as Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) celebrates Commonwealth Day 2018 

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has marked Commonwealth Day 2018 both in London at the CPA Headquarters Secretariat and across the CPA Regions and Branches.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, with members of the royal family, attended celebrations in London to mark Commonwealth Day 2018 and attended one of the largest multi-faith celebration services in Westminster Abbey. Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon attended the service together with Mr Akbar Khan, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The service was also attended by with Commonwealth High Commissioners, the Commonwealth Secretary-General and dignitaries from around the Commonwealth as well as senior politicians and 1,000 school children. Please click here to read Her Majesty The Queen’s Commonwealth Day 2018 message.

Also attending the Commonwealth Day service were young people from across the Commonwealth who were attending the CPA Commonwealth Day Youth Programme on the theme of ‘Towards a Common Future’. The young people represented the following CPA Branches: Pakistan; Sri Lanka; New South Wales; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Isle of Man; Malta; United Kingdom; Wales; Jersey; Cayman Islands; Bermuda; Montserrat; Trinidad and Tobago; Kerala, India; New Zealand.
On Commonwealth Day 2018, the Secretary-General of the CPA, Mr Akbar Khan released a video message to CPA Branches and said: “Commonwealth Day provides us with the opportunity to reflect on what the Commonwealth means to us and our communities. The Commonwealth can play a vital role in ensuring a better future for us all, today and for future generations. The 2018 Commonwealth theme reminds us that only by working together can we secure a more sustainable, prosperous, fairer and secure Commonwealth for everyone. I wish you all a Commonwealth Day that inspires you to work towards our common future.” Please click here to view the CPA Secretary-General’s video message for Commonwealth Day 2018.

The CPA Youth Programme on Commonwealth Day 2018 was opened by the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP who spoke of the importance of this year’s 2018 Commonwealth theme of ‘Towards a Common Future’ for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association which promotes common goals for CPA Branches and the strengthening of Commonwealth Parliaments to achieve democratic solutions. The CPA Chairperson emphasised the need for young people to participate in politics in order to have a voice in the democratic process and also the need for all Commonwealth Parliamentarians to listen to young people in their respective jurisdictions to ensure that they represent youth voices. The CPA Chairperson said: “Over one billion young people hold the key to unlocking the challenges that we face – beyond our respective borders. The CPA and the Commonwealth are truly global organisations.”

The CPA Youth Programme participants heard from keynote speaker, Hon. Dawn Butler, MP (United Kingdom) who is the Shadow Women and Equalities Minister in the UK Parliament. Dawn Butler said: “The future is too important to give up on your vision. It is up to the younger generation to put their mark on the special relationship that we have with the Commonwealth.”

This was followed by a round table discussion on the theme of ‘The Role of Youth in the Implementation of the SDGs through Political Participation’. The round table discussion included a wide range of views on the implementation of the SDGs from CPA Commonwealth Day Youth participants. UK Parliamentarian, Lord Purvis of Tweed also spoke at the event and responded to questions on the role of youth in implementing the SDGs and the Commonwealth trade potential. Baroness Uddin also attended the CPA event at the Houses of Parliament.

During the evening of Commonwealth Day 2018, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee and Mr Akbar Khan, CPA Secretary-General together with seven of the CPA Commonwealth Youth Programme participants attended the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Commonwealth Day reception at Marlborough House in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

In addition, CPA Branches and Regions across the network of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association marked Commonwealth Day in many different ways. Reports of these activities will feature on the CPA website and in the next issue of The Parliamentarian. Commonwealth Day has been celebrated around the Commonwealth on the second Monday in March every year since the 1970s.

For images of the CPA Youth Programmes on Commonwealth Day 2018 please click here.

Updated 12th March 2018.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. 
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Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Secretariat, Westminster House,
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