Home >About us >History >Commonwealth establishes 'Small States Office' in New York

Commonwealth establishes 'Small States Office' in New York

1981

Commonwealth sets up a 'Small States Office' in New York, so that small states can take part in UN negotiations.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when several of the small states in the Pacific and Asia became independent, one of their objectives was to join the UN. Commonwealth countries in those regions suggested a single office for representatives from these small states. This was seen as an alternative to those countries setting up new Missions - representations to intergovernmental agencies - in New York. Australia provided the initial funding for the Commonwealth Secretariat to establish the New York office.

The benefits of this facility to smaller states like Samoa and the Solomon Islands soon attracted other small states member countries. In 1985, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Nassau, The Bahamas, Heads of Government requested that the Commonwealth Secretary-General explore the possibility of extending the facility to other Commonwealth small states.