Over the course of a week in Singapore, leaders from the CGF member Nations and Territories gathered together to review activity, drive progress and inspire change for the Commonwealth Sport Movement, culminating on Wednesday 15 November with the annual General Assembly.
On the first day, Bishan Sports Hall, the training centre for the Singapore national gymnastics team, set the stage for the announcement of a new tranche of funding for the Game Changers initiative. The Programme, initiated in July 2020, has been a force for positive change across CGAs. Providing grants to support projects from supplying clean water in Sri Lanka, to establishing a Basketball Art School in Namibia; the Games Changers programme has proven its ability to transform lives and communities through the power of sport and shared Commonwealth values.
On Day two, it was declared that the process to select a host for the eighth Commonwealth Youth Games will commence in early 2024. Building on the success of Trinbago 2023, the announcement generated excitement among numerous CGAs expressing keen interest in hosting the next Youth Games.
During the course of the day the CGA Leaders attended interactive workshops and presentations addressing the future activities of the Movement. They were joined in part by His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh, Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation who met leaders of the CGAs from across the world. He also presented Dame Louise Martin, the outgoing President, with a gift in recognition of her years of service to the Commonwealth Sport Movement. The gift was specially created by Fitch and McAndrew, internationally renowned Scottish potters. The design features flowers representing each region of the Commonwealth: Africa (Protea); Asia (Indian Lotus); Americas (Maple leaf); Caribbean (Anthurium Lily); Europe (Thistle); and Oceania (Frangipani).
The General Assembly took Place on Day three and one of the key decisions was the approval by acclamation of the Commonwealth Sport Declaration on Reconciliation and Partnership with Indigenous Peoples. This historic document outlines ten impactful actions aimed at addressing truth and reconciliation through sports, and honouring the culture, heritage, and experiences of Indigenous Peoples within the Commonwealth.
In addition, the nations of Gabon and Togo were voted in as new members of the Commonwealth Games Federation, bringing the total number of member nations and territories to 74, the highest it has ever been.
The General Assembly also provided a platform to update members on the ongoing efforts to find a host for the 2026 Games. Constructive conversations with members outlined ongoing discussions across multiple regions to secure a host. The CGF aims to provide greater clarity on this front in early 2024.
The focus of the General Assembly then turned to the elections for the new Executive Board members and the new President. Chris Jenkins OBE was elected as the new CGF President, succeeding Dame Louise Martin. Jenkins, a former rower for Wales and CEO of Commonwealth Games Wales, brings decades of experience and a commitment to the role. His vision for transformative change includes guiding the Games to a sustainable model, developing and strengthening CGAs, and ensuring all voices are heard within the Movement.
The new leadership team continued with the election of three new Vice-Presidents, six Regional Vice-Presidents, members of the Sport Committee and a vote for the continuation of the Chair of the Athletes Advisory Commission. Read more about the election results here.
To celebrate service to the Commonwealth Sport Movement, awards were presented including: Fortuna Belrose from St Lucia and Miriam Moyo, Zambia who were made Honorary Life Members and Bruce Robertson from Canada who was made a Life Vice-President. In addition, Orders of Merit were presented to Mike Stanley, CNZM, New Zealand, Robert McVeigh, Northern Ireland and Michael Cavanagh OBE, Scotland.
As the curtain fell on the 2023 General Assembly, CEO Katie Sadleir reflected on the transformative era ahead. She expressed gratitude to outgoing members, including Dame Louise Martin, for their unwavering dedication to the Commonwealth Sport Movement. The emphasis now is on the future - focusing on evolving and innovating to encourage more cities, regions and nations to host the Game; working together to ensure a sustainable and inspiring future for the Commonwealth Games family and continuing to deliver positive social impact across the world.