What does the commonwealth do for my parliament
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What does the Commonwealth do for my parliament?. The History of the Commonwealth. Britain with colonies all over the world Beginning in 1867 Britain allows colonies self-government Colonies rise to dominion status. Internal self-government Independence in foreign affairs

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The history of the commonwealth
The History of the Commonwealth

  • Britain with colonies all over the world

  • Beginning in 1867 Britain allows colonies self-government

  • Colonies rise to dominion status.

    • Internal self-government

    • Independence in foreign affairs

  • Term “Commonwealth” referring to British Empire first used in 1884

  • Declarations & commitments form modern Commonwealth of Nations

The commonwealth of nations
The Commonwealth of Nations

  • Balfour Declaration-1926: Dominions are autonomous, equal communities within British empire united by allegiance to British Crown.

  • Statute of Westminster-1931: Legal backing to dominion arrangements is provided.

  • London Declaration-1949: British Monarch becomes symbol for free association including an Commonwealth countries.

  • Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles-1971:Defined modern Commonwealth.

Declarations modernize the commonwealth
Declarations Modernize the Commonwealth

  • Harare Declaration-1991:Reaffirmed Commonwealth principles and:

    • Stood against terrorism

    • Pursued equality & participation by women

    • Promoted sustainable development

    • Promoted democracy

  • Millbrook Declaration-1995:Firm action against members who do not uphold Harare principles

    • Suspension of participation at Commonwealth meetings

    • Complete suspension from the Commonwealth

    • Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Rapid Action Force is created

Declarations modernize the commonwealth cont
Declarations Modernize the Commonwealth (cont.)

  • Limassol Declaration-1993, Edinburgh Declaration-1997, & Fancourt Declaration-1999:Economic matters, globalization and people-centered development.

  • Coolum Declaration-2002:Gave new vision and structure for the Commonwealth in 21st Century.

  • Aso Rock Declaration-2003:Stressed pro-poor stance.

Who s in the commonwealth now
Who’s in the Commonwealth now?

  • 53 countries!

  • 1.7 billion people!

  • 2/3 without British Monarchas head of state

Commonwealth members
Commonwealth Members

Dates of Membership

Nation Year Nation Year Nation Year

Antigua and Barbuda 1981 Australia 1931 The Bahamas 1973

Bangladesh 1972 Barbados 1966 Belize 1981

Botswana 1966 Brunei 1984 Cameroon 1995

Canada 1931 Cyprus 1961 Dominica 1978

Fiji Islands 1997  The Gambia 1965 Ghana 1957

Grenada 1974 Guyana 1966 India 1947

Jamaica 1962 Kenya 1963 Kiribati 1979

Lesotho 1966 Malawi 1964 Malaysia 1957

The Maldives 1982 Malta 1964 Mauritius 1968

Mozambique 1995 Namibia 1990 Nauru 1968

New Zealand 1931 Nigeria 1960 Pakistan 1947

Papua New Guinea 1975 St. Christopher and Nevis 1983 St. Lucia 1979

St. Vincent & Grenadines   1979 Samoa 1970 Seychelles 1976

Sierra Leone 1961 Singapore 1965 Solomon Islands 1978

South Africa 1931 Sri Lanka 1948 Swaziland 1968

Tanzania 1961 Tonga 1970 Trinidad and Tobago 1962

Tuvalu 1978 United Kingdom -- Uganda 1962

Vanuatu 1980 Zambia 1964

What are the commonwealth s core values



Rule of law

Good governance

Freedom of expression

Human rights



Human dignity







People-centered development Sustainable development


Disparities in living standards

Challenges of small states & less developed countries

Strive for:

International peace & security

Rule of international law

End of people smuggling

End to terrorism.

What are the Commonwealth’s Core Values?

Characteristics of commonwealth members


Comply with the Commonwealth core values

Have a constitutional link with a Commonwealth member state

Accept Commonwealth procedures and conventions

Independent sovereign states


Voluntary membership

Equal membership by all countries

Countries responsible for their own policies

A culture of consultation & co-operation.

Direct work to common interests of Commonwealth

Promote understanding & world peace.

Characteristics of Commonwealth Members

Regions of the commonwealth parliamentary association
Regions of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Nine Regions of CPA




British Islands and Mediterranean


Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic



South East Asia

Commonwealth secretariat


Established in 1965

Chief executive is secretary-general

Works with executives of members

Is Largest entity in Commonwealth

Cooperates with:

Civil society


Private sector

Has 250 staff


Implement decisions

Election Observer Groups

Development assistance

Foster member relationships

Encourage democracy& cooperation

Run events & training activities







Youth, etc.

Commonwealth Secretariat

What are the commonwealth small states
What are the Commonwealth Small States?

32 Countries

Population < 1.5 million

Organizations in the commonwealth
Organizations in the Commonwealth

  • Commonwealth Parliamentary Association: Consultation between and among Commonwealth parliaments

    • Includes sub-national legislatures

    • Divided into regions

    • Organizes annual conference

  • Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP): Provides professional development opportunities for women MPs

  • Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF): plays a parallel role to that of the CPA for local governments.

Organizations in the commonwealth cont
Organizations in the Commonwealth (cont.)

  • Commonwealth Foundation:

    • Strengthen civil society, democracy etc.

    • Increase exchanges between organizations

    • Improves standards of knowledge

  • Commonwealth Games: Multinational, multi-sport event, every four years

  • Commonwealth Business Council: Devoted to business interests in the Commonwealth

Organizations in the commonwealth cont1
Organizations in the Commonwealth (cont.)

  • Commonwealth of Learning: A non-degree-granting University for development and educational access for commonwealth countries.

  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative: Encourages human rights but does not possess any executive powers

  • Institute of Commonwealth Studies/Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit: Think tank for the contemporary Commonwealth.

  • The Royal Commonwealth Society: Provides information and education about the Commonwealth to all interested persons.

Chogm meetings
CHOGM Meetings

  • Established in 1971, replacing Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meetings

  • Held every two years

  • Reiterate the core values and principles of the association

  • Review performance and global relevance

The modern commonwealth machine what keeps it together
The Modern Commonwealth Machine: What keeps it together?

  • A common heritage of

    • English language

    • Law

    • Parliamentary democracy


  • Language and legal systems have changed

  • Many have dropped the bicameral parliamentary system

    yet, in spite of its variety, it is…

  • A potent force for harmonizing differences

Chogm governing the commonwealth
CHOGM: Governing the Commonwealth

  • Policy-making

  • Performance evaluation

  • Publishes decisions

  • Outlines work

  • Appoints secretary-general

Think about this
Think about this:

How can the Commonwealth help you:

  • Learning?

  • Networking?

  • Support?