Flags at Australia's Commonwealth PlaceFlags at Australia's Commonwealth Place. [photo: Alamy stock]

Commonwealth heads met in Melbourne from 30 September to 7 October forty years ago today. One of the outcomes of that Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) was the Melbourne Declaration.

As The Round Table reported at the time, the leaders had a packed agenda. The final Melbourne Declaration included strong statements on the relationship between rich and poor nations:

We, the Heads of Government here assembled, drawn from five continents representing a quarter of the world‘s entire population:

  1. Affirm our strong and unanimous conviction that all men and women have the right to live in ways that sustain and nourish human dignity;
  2. Believe that this right imposes obligations on all states, large and small, not only in respect to their own people but in their dealings with all other nations;
  3. Assert that the gross inequality of wealth and opportunity currently existing in the world, and the unbroken circle of poverty in which the lives of millions in developing countries are confined, are fundamental sources of tension and instability in the world;
  4. As a consequence, assert our unanimous conviction that there must be determined and dedicated action at national and international levels to reduce that inequality and to break that circle;

Click here to read the full declaration.

Related articles:

Forty Years ago: Commonwealth leaders succeeded in hammering out a consensus on key economic issues – The Indian Express 4 October, 2021

Commonwealth declarations – The Commonwealth

Twenty Commonwealth steps from Singapore to Kampala – Round Table, 2007

Commonwealth opportunities and tasks at Melbourne – Round Table, 1981