The Declaration of Commonwealth Principles (1971)

HE Kenneth Kaunda, President of ZambiaThe 1971 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Singapore was a landmark for the association. Prior to the meeting, Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda drafted a statement of principles for discussion. He took the lead because he believed that the African members needed to take a strong position against racial discrimination. Yet he was also concerned to prevent further splits in the Commonwealth. The Declaration of Commonwealth Principles that was adopted in 1971 (also known as the Singapore Declaration) can be seen as the first formal statement of Commonwealth values.

Heads of government agreed to promote actively the following goals:

  • racial equality
  • liberty and equality for all citizens
  • democratic values and participation
  • decolonisation and self-determination
  • elimination of global disparities in wealth
  • peace through international co-operation.