The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Port-of-Spain has been declared a big success, not only by CHOGM chairman Prime Minister Patrick Manning, but also several other Commonwealth leaders. Their overall vote of confidence was registered during a media briefing at the close of the three-day meeting. Leaders held their final session of talks at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Speaking subsequently at a briefing at the Hyatt, Manning said the 20th CHOGM meeting had been very successful in that six documents had been signed by all 52 members of the Commonwealth. These documents included a statement of Commonwealth's values and principles, a statement on non-communicable diseases, the creation of a Commonwealth election management body and a youth declaration.
Manning said it was both an honour and a pleasure to host the distinguished heads of state and felt that the collaborative agreement among the nations would directly contribute to the future success of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, in three weeks. He said the success of the meeting was further highlighted by the participation of both the president of France and president of Denmark, in the discussion. He added that the inclusion of nations not member states of the Commonwealth was highly unusual, but represented the strength of multinational collaboration, and the Commonwealth as an international organisation. President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, said the meeting's success lay in the nations' proactive response to the challenge of climate change.
Like Manning, Zuma said the successful discussions at the meeting would contribute to the outcome of the meeting in Copenhagen. "There is no doubt that we (the Commonwealth) will make a difference in Copenhagen," he said.
President of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, said the meeting, above all else, "gave a voice to all small island states," which, he added, were often most affected by the effects of climate change. Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, said CHOGM's strength was its ability to foster bilateral communications among member countries, which he said proved that despite sceptics, the Commonwealth was still a relevant international organisation.
Denying criticism that the Commonwealth was no longer a relevant international organisation, Commonwealth Secretary General Karmalesh Sharma said success of CHOGM was evidence of its relevance. Sharma said CHOGM exemplified the importance of a common purpose among nations to make global change, which was in form of developing strategies to slow and stop climate change. He also said the Commonwealth's success was also attributed to its mindfulness of equality among all nations, large or small, developed or developing. He said that it was through the Commonwealth that many smaller states had been able to secure international trade agreements and promote the expansion of their economies.
Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, said this CHOGM was his first and that the meeting itself was proof to him that there was indeed a relevance in the Commonwealth. He said this relevance came in the ability of various nations, all of different social and economical backgrounds, to gather together, and under the same values address global issues that are great importance to each one. He said the Commonwealth's strength lay in the "friendship and camaraderie" that was forged between nations striving for a similar goal. President Zuma said in such a divided world, an organisation was needed to unite nations to respond to global challenges. "That organisation is the Commonwealth," he said.