What is CHOGM?


The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held every two years to enable leaders of Commonwealth countries to come together to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and to decide on collective policies and initiatives.

This year, CHOGM is taking place in Sri Lanka, the first time an Asian country is hosting the summit in 24 years.

Every CHOGM is jointly organized by the host country and the Commonwealth Secretariat. These biennial meetings serve as the principal policy and decision-making forum to guide the strategic direction of the association.

Commonwealth leaders have been coming together for discussions since 1949, but the title “Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting” was adopted during a session in Singapore in 1971. This specific classification was used to depict the gathering of both presidents and prime ministers in the event.

One unique aspect of the meeting is that the formal opening ceremony and the formal Executive Session are followed by a “retreat” where leaders meet privately for discussions. With an informal atmosphere, this session allows heads of state to freely and frankly exchange their views on important issues and come to a consensus.

Previous CHOGMs have focused on a range of global issues, including international peace and security, democracy, climate change, multilateral trade issues, good governance, sustainable development, small states, debt management, education, environment, gender equality, health, human rights, information and communication technology, and youth affairs.

The theme of the 2011 CHOGM in Perth, Australia, was “Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience.”

Commonwealth Member States



The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) 2013

The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) 2013 is jointly organised by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in collaboration with the private sector. It will be held Nov. 12 – 14, 2013 in Colombo.

From an international perspective, the CBF serves several functions:

  • It provides Commonwealth countries an opportunity to collaborate on and collectively influence global trade and investment issues.
  • It provides business sectors in member nations to learn of new investment opportunities.
  • It provides a platform for government and business leaders to network with each other and conduct business with international partners.
  • It provides Commonwealth countries to collaborate on and collectively influence global trade and investment issues.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the CBF 2013 in Colombo on Oct. 11, 2012. As the host country, Sri Lanka has identified the following local objectives for the CBF:

  1. 1. To encourage investment into the country.
  2. 2. To expose the investment potential of Sri Lanka to the region and the world.
  3. 3. To pave the way for investment out of Sri Lanka globally.

For more information, please visit the Commonwealth Business Council website.



 The Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) 2013

The Commonwealth People’s Forum 2013 is organised by the Commonwealth Foundation, hosted by a consortium of Sri Lankan civil society organisations with support from the Government of Sri Lanka. It is the single biggest opportunity for civil society to engage with Commonwealth leaders on global development issues. Held every two years in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), it brings civil society representatives together to discuss key issues facing the Commonwealth.

Prior to CPF 2013, a series of regional consultations were undertaken with civil society to help develop a Commonwealth Agenda for Development – contributing to the post-2015 MDG framework. This will be further debated at CPF 2013 and presented in the form of a declaration to Foreign Ministers at the CHOGM to be held on 16 November, 2013. Delegates will also have the opportunity to take part in a series of learning journeys, visiting community projects and organisations in Sri Lanka. find out more

youth_forumThe Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) 2013

The Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) will be held for five days from Nov. 10-14, 2013, in the southern port city of Hambantota. The CYF is organised with several objectives: To allow youth leaders to exchange ideas and cultures, for youth participants to build skills and network, and to work toward identifying the most vital challenges and opportunities facing young people today.

A Youth-Led Task Force (YLTF) will be responsible for the planning and the organising of the CYF. The Task Force will consist of five youth leaders from Commonwealth member countries and five youth leaders from Sri Lanka, with co-chairs from each group. The YLTF is responsible for the entire programme, including the daily agenda, themes for plenary sessions and the identification of resource persons, among others.

Proposed Activities and Events

Four days will be allocated for the main forum of the Commonwealth Youth Forum while one day will be set aside for sightseeing. Participants of the CYF will have the opportunity to take part in professional skills development programmes, capacity building activities and cross-cultural programmes. The following are among some of the events and activities being planned for this year’s CYF:

General Assembly of the Commonwealth Youth Council
The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) will be the new official and independent platform representing the voice of young people in the Commonwealth. The General Assembly of the CYC will meet every two years and will be the highest decision-making gathering of the CYF.

Youth Dialogue
Newly-elected youth leaders of the CYC and co-chairs of the CYF Youth-Led Task Force will interface with the Heads of Government to share the outcomes of the CYF, share the collective youth vision for the Commonwealth and agree on how the youth group can work together with governments to achieve Commonwealth goals and objectives during the upcoming two years.

Commonwealth Youth Awards Ceremony
The awards ceremony is held to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of award-winners from across the Commonwealth.

The volunteering programme will be a local legacy project. The delegates will have the opportunity to volunteer in community projects in Sri Lanka that in turn contribute to major national development initiatives.

Cultural Visit
Participants of the Youth Forum will be taken on a visit to a place of historical or cultural significance.

Night Fair
The night fair will be one more opportunity for youth leaders from around the world to mingle, network and build relationships.