VALLETTA, Malta, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), themed "Commonwealth -- Adding Global Value", will be held in Valletta, the capital city of Malta from Friday to Sunday.
The meeting comes days ahead of the Paris Climate Conference (COP21). A special session will be dedicated to climate change, and a statement will be issued by the leaders.
This summit is viewed as particularly important as the leaders of more than 50 countries gather in Europe just two weeks after the Paris terrorist attacks, which killed at least 120 people.
Thus, another main topic for the meeting will be violent extremism and radicalism. The leaders' discussion will focus on ways Commonwealth countries can work together to defeat terrorist groups.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent states with a combined population of 2.2 billion. It emerged in 1949 after the decolonization of the British Empire. Symbolically headed by Queen Elizabeth II, the Commonwealth includes some of the world's largest, smallest, richest and poorest nations.
The CHOGM, held every two years since 1971, is the association's ultimate policy-and decision-making forum.
The summit is held in different Commonwealth countries and organized by the host government and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Malta is hosting the summit for a second time.
Today's summits evolved, in stages, out of the Colonial Conferences of the late 19th century and Imperial Conferences of the early 20th century. At that time, the British prime ministers and leaders of the dominions met to discuss, in particular, constitutional issues, foreign affairs, defence and trade.
From 1944, the summits were called Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meetings, but were still held in Britain, chaired by Britain's prime minister and organized by the British Commonwealth Office.
In 1966, at the time of the establishment of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the conference venue was moved out of Britain and was held in another Commonwealth country, Nigeria, for the first time.
In 1971, when the first regular summit was held outside Britain - in Singapore - leaders also decided to change its name to Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM), as there were an increasing number of republics headed by presidents rather than prime ministers.