The Commonwealth's structure is based largely on unwritten and traditional procedures and not on a formal charter or constitution. It is guided, however, by a series of agreements on its principles and aims. These are Declarations or Statements which have been issued by Commonwealth Heads of Government at various summits.
Together, they constitute a foundation of Commonwealth values and a history of concern in global affairs. The most significant of these are the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, 1971 and the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, 1991 ,which clearly set out the Commonwealth's commitment to democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
This landmark agreement set the Commonwealth on a new course: that of promoting democracy and good governance, human rights and the rule of law, gender equality and sustainable economic and social development.
In 1995 Commonwealth Heads of Government adopted an action programme to fulfill more effectively their commitment to the Harare principles, the programme took the name of the place where leaders met.
The Declaration defines the voluntary character and consensual working methods of the Commonwealth, specifying the goals and objectives of the association.