077_Global12_CWN_V4

Global issue 12

Commonwealth SECRETARYuniF6BAGENERAL commonwealth networkInboxFROM THE COMMONWEALTH Foreign ministers agree on draft charter ily and belonging that is perhaps unique monwealth.a special place of honour in the Com-The Commonwealth has a sense of fam- Commonwealth Foreign Ministers met in among communities of nations. This is When the Commonwealth Secretariat New York at the end of September on the undoubtedly due, in large part, to the was established as the ‘civil service’ of margins of the 67th Session of the United exceptional record of service of HM the Commonwealth in 1965, the Com- Nations General Assembly. There, minis- Queen Elizabeth II, whose Diamond Ju- monwealth Foundation was set up in ters agreed on a draft charter of the Com- bilee has been so widely celebrated this parallel to work alongside the voluntary monwealth, which embraces its fundamen- year. Never before – and perhaps never organisations of the Commonwealth tal values, principles and aspirations. again – has a voluntary grouping of sov- and serve their needs. Both Secretariat The ministers agreed to all the remaining ereign nations come together under one and Foundation were accommodated recommendations of the Commonwealth Head for 60 years. at Marlborough House, gra- Eminent Persons Group, aimed at sharpening The personal commitment ciously lent for Common- impact, strengthening networks and raising of the Queen to promot- wealth purposes by Her Maj- the Commonwealth’s profi le. These recom- ing respect for our shared esty the Queen. mendations, and the draft charter, will now go Commonwealth values and The depth of specialist to Commonwealth leaders for approval. strengthening the ties of knowledge and range of pro- The meeting produced traction on de- friendship and affi nity is un- fessional expertise available velopments for a new Strategic Plan for matched. We owe Her Majes- across the Commonwealth the Commonwealth Secretariat, intended ty a great debt of gratitude for through the staff and mem- to help the Secretariat focus on its areas the manner in which she has Kamalesh Sharma berships of these civil soci- of comparative advantage in addressing dedicated her life to serving ety organisations is excep- contemporary challenges. Ministers also the Commonwealth – as much by what tional. The new strategic plan currently agreed on a range of measures to sup- she is, as by what she does. being developed for the Secretariat, as port the Commonwealth Ministerial Ac- There are times when the Common- directed by Heads of Government in tion Group in its enhanced mandate and wealth itself needs simply to ‘be’, rather Perth last October, will see this reser- the Secretary-General’s ‘Good Offi ces for than to ‘do’, in order to bring its benign voir of Commonwealth talent and inno- Peace’ work. infl uence to bear on international affairs vation utilised far more imaginatively in Ministers were briefed by the Foreign – and for the well-being of its citizens future. Minister of Sri Lanka on preparations for and member states. The sense of trust Commonwealth cooperation and col- the next Commonwealth Heads of Govern- and common purpose with which Com- lective practical action to improve the ment Meeting to be held in Colombo, Sri monwealth Heads of Government and lives and livelihoods of our citizens can Lanka in November 2013. ministerial meetings are imbued may be enhanced through an even more in- be intangible and not easy to defi ne, but clusive and collaborative approach than Th e Commonwealth Commonwealth to exert a positive infl u- zons for mutual aid and connection arehas been adopted in the past. New hori-can nonetheless be potent in helping the Foundation refocuses ence on world affairs. in communications technology and thebeing opened up as a result of advancesRespect for diversity comes more eas- Based on recommendations made by ily to states that belong to a family of rapid roll-out of access to the Internet Commonwealth Heads of Government nations that embraces as equal Nauru, through mobile devices. in Perth last October, the Commonwealth with 10,000 citizens, and India, with It is to harness the benefi ts of such Foundation is planning to re-launch on a population of 1.25 billion. At Com- technological progress and economic 1 November with a revised mandate monwealth meetings, collective action development that we have devised to ‘effectively deliver the objectives is decided on a basis of consensus, with Commonwealth Connects, offering se- of strengthening and mobilising civil participation by each of our 54 member cure cloud-based online workspaces society in support of Commonwealth states dependent on adherence to Com- through which both governmental and principles and priorities.’ According to the monwealth values and principles rather non-governmental aspects of Common- Foundation’s director, Vijay Krishnarayan, than population, location, development wealth communication and transaction the new four-year strategy strives for more or economic endowment. can be propagated and proliferate. effective and accountable governance Many of our citizens derive their Such common endeavour promises to through participation with civil society. sense of Commonwealth identity from bring a new sense of shared identity, es- The Foundation views the Women’s Affairs non-governmental elements of our glo- pecially to our youth, helping us collec- Ministers Meeting, to be held in June bal family. Civil society organisations, tively to raise our profi le and deepen the in Bangladesh, as an ideal opportunity through which offi cials, professionals, impact of our joint actions as the Com- to strengthen ties with civil society young people and communities of prac- monwealth family, in advancing democ- organisations on issues of gender equality tice or special interest can unite in com- racy, economic and social development, and rights. mon purpose, have long been accorded and respect for diversity. globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l77


Global issue 12
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