The Harare Commonwealth Declaration (1991)

In 1989, the Commonwealth began its own review of its record. It examined the continuing relevance of the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles in a changing world. The East-West tension of the Cold War was over, the popular revolutions in Eastern Europe were strengthening the global acceptance of Harare Declarationdemocratic principles and values, and the racially segregated regimes of southern Africa were in the process of being transformed. The final product of this period of self-reflection was the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, published in 1991.

The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was issued by Heads of Government at the end of their 1991 meeting in Zimbabwe. It begins by accepting the principles of the Singapore Declaration from 1971. However, while the 'old' Commonwealth values were reinforced in Harare, the meeting considered the new issues that had emerged. In 1971, environmental sustainability, gender equity and combating drug trafficking and abuse were not significant concerns of the international community. By 1991, this had changed.