But Fiji and Zimbabwe remain suspended until ‘genuine democracy through transparent electoral process’ is restored.
At a joint briefing yesterday at the Media Centre in Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Karma listed the agenda as the reform of the association, economic transformation, food security, human rights, women as agents of change, climate change and the plight of small and vulnerable states.
Gillard, who first addressed the press, said: “Our unique strengths and diversity — from the smallest nations to very large, and its representativeness with 54 states across six continents; its vibrancy and promise, are bonded by common values.
“Organisations such as the Commonwealth bring countries together to discuss issues such as food security, climate change and sustainable development.
“We have a new sense of purpose and promise. We will continue to promote traditional values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We will be discussing issues bordering on food security, global economy, G-20 and climate change. At the end of the day, we want to speak with one voice.
“We have had a very successful business forum, the most successful in the history of the Commonwealth.”
Sharma said: “What we are going to see at the CHOGM is the Commonwealth genius of finding the way forward on our agenda of reform, renewal and resilience.
“Emerging issues and reports will be formally received by leaders on Friday (today) and attended to accordingly.
“Whatever decisions the leaders arrive at will reflect the expectations of the Commonwealth citizens. The aim is to build consensus on contemporary concerns, striving to strengthen the culture of democracy, to promote resilience and sustainable development, and to embrace and celebrate diversity.
“This will make a difference in the lives of our citizens. This CHOGM will raise the bar for our engagement on each of our three aspirations — democracy, development and diversity. The programmes we devise here will see their expression in practical action that changes the lives of millions of people in all our member countries.
“The consensus agreed here and the solutions achieved here are something which will have global potential, which can contribute to the outcomes of other global summits. Commonwealth priorities naturally pay special attention to reflecting and articulating the concerns of small and vulnerable states.”
On the fate of Fiji and Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth, Sharma said: “We are watching very closely the situation and their readiness to promote genuine democracy through free, fair and transparent electoral process. When they restore democracy to their countries, the leaders will take necessary decision on their return.”
While Zimbabwe has been under a ‘doctored’ democratic environment, Fiji is being managed by military junta since 2006.