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Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020

Agenda 2030: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - How might the Commonwealth deliver success?

The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020 was held virtually on Wednesday, 11th November 2020. The keynote speaker was Stephen Twigg, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General.

Speaking at the Annual Gladwyn Lecture, the CPA Secretary-General focused particularly on quality education (SDG4) and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG16). The UN SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


During his virtual lecture, the CPA Secretary-General emphasised the urgency of the SDGs, invoking the call of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for a ‘decade of action’. COVID-19 may have very damaging impacts on global efforts to meet the 2030 target, but the CPA Secretary-General was resolute that the deadline should not be extended, reiterating that it is the duty of governments, Parliaments and civil society to keep the SDGs at the forefront of the global agenda, in spite of the pandemic.

On education, the CPA Secretary-General highlighted five key priorities: funding, a focus on quality, collaboration, innovation and leaving no one behind. The Commonwealth has already shown leadership in these areas. At the Commonwealth Conference for Education Ministers in 2018, governments and organisations came together to pledge their commitment to the SDGs and, since the pandemic began, the Commonwealth of Learning has shown excellent leadership by supporting quality remote education through technology.

Education, peace and good governance are not simply linked, but interdependent, the CPA Secretary-General said. A safe, well-governed society is imperative for the delivery of quality education, whilst an educated society is well-placed to deliver peace, justice and good governance. It is through collaboration across the Commonwealth that we can jointly advance these values, which are central to the Commonwealth Charter.

Discussing the CPA’s contribution to education and good governance, the CPA Secretary-General pointed out the professional development and training that the CPA provides to Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, which is a practical, effective way to build robust democratic institutions. With many governments having adopted emergency powers in response to COVID-19, well-informed Parliamentarians, alert to potential abuses of power, are key to the protection and progression of SDG 16. Another example of the CPA’s work towards the SDGs is the upcoming CPA Virtual Commonwealth Youth Parliament, which seeks to combine SDG 4 and SDG 16 by giving young people the opportunity to learn about the institutions of democratic government.

Watch the video HERE -


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