by Noah van Dijk


CHOGM – is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which is held every 2 years.

During this event, senior officials from 53 countries are gathered to discuss global issues.

What is CHOGM?

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is an official meeting of leader representatives from different countries, and the event usually begins with the traditional opening ceremony.

After the formal part of the event, representatives of the countries move on to the part, where the informal communication starts.

The officials focus on discussing the principal global issues as well as the solutions while meeting in private.

The main topic of discussion in each event is being selected forehead, touching on upon the following subjects:

  • international security;
  • ecology, climate;
  • omnichannel efficient trade;
  • health care;
  • gender equality;
  • education;
  • development and support of small countries.

The action plan and the strategy of each country of the Commonwealth are being developed by the leaders after they sketch out the versions of the resolution.

History, governing structure and values of the Commonwealth

The CHOGM originates from both the first colonial conference held in 1887 and subsequent regular imperial conferences in London.

Due to the debates which promoted the independence and development of the former colonies countries, the structure of the Commonwealth of Nations was reorganized in the 1960s.

Based on the establishment of the Secretariat and the Unification Foundation, the UK was no longer a centralization of power in the organization.

Currently, leading representatives of any country are authorized to become part of the Secretariat of the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1971, the former imperial conferences were renamed into CHOGM, which highlighted the importance of development and diversity of the Commonwealth's structural elements.

Since then, the events are being held alternately in member countries.

Members of the Commonwealth of Nations

The head of the Commonwealth is the Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II, who received this title as a result of elections after the resignation of her father.

According to the rules, the title of the head cannot be obtained by inheritance, hence the new head of the Commonwealth of Nations is elected by voting on each Meeting.

During the vote in 2018, Elizabeth's son Prince Charles of Wales received the title of the head.

The Chair-in-Office of the Meeting is the head of the host country, or in other words where the territory the official meeting of the Commonwealth is taking place.

The Secretariat of the Commonwealth, which includes the interstate body, and the observer of the UN General Assembly assists in resolving organizational issues, and provide consulting support.

The Secretariat consists of a headquarters, 11 offices, and three special units.

The activities of the entire structure of the Secretariat are monitored by the General Secretary together with two deputies.

The Commonwealth of Education is a group of specialists, which provide options for collaborative distance learning.

The main objective of the Unification Foundation the support of democracy as well as the development of good relationships and effective work between the members of the Commonwealth.


The Commonwealth of Nations is an association of the countries, which gained independence from Great Britain, nevertheless sharing a common history, language, and culture with it.

The key values of the association are based upon democracy, freedom, human rights, and the importance of the legislation.

Nine foreign ministers and a group of Commonwealth of Nations ministers monitor the compliance of the values.

In case of any violation by the members of the association, the member country may be excluded from the Union.

Commonwealth countries

The Commonwealth of Nations includes 53 member states, which are focused on the development of democracy and efficient international relationships.

The following list represents the member states of the interstate Association including Great Britain as well as former colonies, dominions, and protectorates:

  • Australia;
  • Bangladesh;
  • Canada;
  • Nigeria;
  • Namibia;
  • Pakistan;
  • New Zealand;
  • Singapore;
  • Sri Lanka;
  • Fiji;
  • South Africa;
  • Jamaica.

A full list of the member countries can be found on the official website of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Screenshot from Commonwealth official website

Besides, on the online platform, there is an interactive map available where the current, former and potential members of the Association are presented based on the up to date data.

The same information is also at the user´s disposal on the website of CHOGM 2013.

Requirements for credentials of conference participants

Every participant of the conference as well as a media representative had to go through the accreditation process.

To complete this process, the participant receives a passcode code to the system, which enables confirming their identity and completing the procedure of compliance with CHOGM rules.

After passing this stage, a system will proceed with issuing an ID or a personal badge with the participant´s photograph, and a brief information.

These badges serve as an entry for the upcoming events.

Before receiving a badge or ID, media representatives were required to accept the following conditions.

  1. The participation ID is the property of the government of the state where the CHOGM event takes place. Therefore, it can be withdrawn, suspended at any time without further explanation.
  2. The participation ID indicates a list of events that the participant is authorized to attend, however, they might not have access to some forums and conferences.
  3. Any participant having access to CHOGM events may be checked by the security service if necessary.
  4. The personal belongings of the participant may be checked as well. The media representatives are allowed to take pictures or make videos of other participants and use the received materials only for the purposes that do not contradict the legislation of the host country.
  5. The participant has to keep their participant ID until the end of the meeting, consequently, it is prohibited to pass it to third parties. Authorized bodies are eligible to verify the authenticity of the participation ID and photograph on it.
  6. During forums and conferences, media representatives, delegates, and other participants have to use participation ID without covering the photo.
  7. In case when the participation ID is lost or stolen, the participant should immediately notify the security service or the Meeting Secretariat.

In case of having more questions or doubts regarding the accreditation process, the volunteers can contact the Support Centre by phone or e-mail.

CHOGM 2013 Sri Lanka

The Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting of 2013, was successfully organized in Colombo, Sri Lanka, owning to the Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was chosen as the Chairman.

To share the information and updates regarding the meeting, there exists an official website The resource contains information about the host of the meeting, events, venue, and other useful materials.

Country Leaders at CHOGM 2013

The opening ceremony of CHOGM-2013 was held at the Nelum Pokuna Theater, also known as Lotus Pond.

This modern cultural building which is located in the central area is frequently chosen for local and international events and serves for the organization of large-scale theatrical performances.

The theater is situated nearby luxury hotels, and commercial organizations, hence turning it into the ultimate location for holding CHOGM events.

The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) was chosen as the main venue for conferences and meetings of the leader representatives.

The building was presented as a gift from the People's Republic of China (PRC) government and it is a namesake of Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike – the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1956 to 1959.

Private meetings of the heads of state took place in a wonderful place surrounded by tributaries of Diyawanna Lake, in the suburbs of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte.

During the meetings, the participants discussed many significant issues outside during a walk by the water or in the building of the Water´s Edge convention center.

The business forum took place at the 5-star Cinnamon Grand Colombo Hotel, located in the center of Colombo city, while the youth forum was held at the conference center in Hambantota, and the national forum at the Chaaya Tranz Hotel.

CHOGM 2020 Rwanda

The 26th Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting was scheduled for 21-27 June 2020 in Kigali, Rwanda.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting has been postponed indefinitely.


Commonwealth Secretariat Headquarters

Marlborough House
Pall Mall
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 6500
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7930 0827


Contact details in Sri Lanka

The official website provides the contact details of the Secretariat General Director specialized for the organization and support of the 2013 Meeting:

Block 4, BMICH Bauddhaloka Mawatha Colombo 07, Sri Lanka.

To reach the center by telephone number please contact +94117575200, to send a fax contact +94117575221, and to send an email - chogm2013(at)mea(dot)gov(dot)lk.

For the questions regarding the accreditation process and obtaining a participation ID please contact +94117575225, and to send an email - chogm2013accreditation(at)mea(dot)gov(dot)lk.

Additionally, users can ask a question directly on the website, choosing the Contacts section, specifying a name, an email address, and by stating your question.