The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is celebrating Commonwealth Day 2021 across the CPA’s nine Regions and over 180 Parliaments and Legislatures. The 2021 Commonwealth Day theme focuses on ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’ which offers opportunities for the people, Parliaments, governments and institutions of the Commonwealth to connect and work together at many levels through far-reaching and deep-rooted networks of friendship and goodwill.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, released her Commonwealth Day message in which she spoke of the diversity of the people and countries that make up the Commonwealth and its ability to deliver a common future for all. The traditional Westminster Abbey Service for Commonwealth Day was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please click here to read Her Majesty The Queen’s Commonwealth Day 2021 message.
Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, Chairperson of the CPA International Executive Committee and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon released a Commonwealth Day message on behalf of the CPA and said: “The COVID-19 pandemic may have physically separated many of us this year, but the bond that connects the various peoples of the Commonwealth remains strong. Now more than ever, we must remain united and act collectively in order to deliver a common future. With our membership of over 17,000 Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff spread across more than 180 Parliaments and Legislatures, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) continues to promote the importance of parliamentary democracy and its value within our societies and our global community.” Please view the CPA Chairperson’s message below or click here.
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg added: “I am pleased to celebrate Commonwealth Day 2021 – my first as the CPA’s Secretary-General. Today, we have an opportunity to reflect on the diversity of the Commonwealth. In particular, as it is also International Women’s Day, I pay tribute to the hard work of women Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth. Additionally, I am delighted to highlight the importance of engaging young people and the relaunch of CPA’s Youth Engagement Pack. As we look to the future, the Commonwealth has a responsibility to listen to diverse voices including women and young people.”
The CPA Headquarters Secretariat has updated and re-launched its Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement Pack in advance of Commonwealth Day 2021. Educating the public, particularly young people, about the institutions of democracy is essential to democratic renewal and Commonwealth Day provides an ideal opportunity for public engagement and outreach and can be used for both Commonwealth Day activities and beyond.
The Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement Pack was first launched in 2020 to support parliamentary outreach activities on Commonwealth Day. It has been updated with ideas and resources that provide options for virtual activities in recognition of the lockdowns currently in place in many Commonwealth jurisdictions due to COVID-19.The pack features:
Click here to download the CPA Commonwealth Day Youth Engagement handbook.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated annually on the second Monday of March and this year it falls on Monday 8 March 2021. Public engagement is crucial in connecting, innovating and transforming social networks and cultures of all societies as it encourages an informed and involved citizenry which is crucial for a functioning democracy. Although Commonwealth Day celebrations may be limited this year due the current global pandemic, the CPA and its CPA Branches hosted a series of online and virtual events.
CPA Branches and Regions across the network of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association marked Commonwealth Day 2020 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.
Commonwealth Day 2021 also coincides with International Women's Day 2021 on 8 March - to read about the activities of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians on this day please click here.