The Commonwealth’s purpose is to help ensure that “no-one is left behind”, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland says in an interview published in the latest edition of The Diplomatist magazine.
“The Commonwealth makes up a third of the world’s population and includes every race and religion of the world. Inclusivity is, therefore, at the heart of everything we do.”
As the world bids farewell to 2016, the Secretary-General outlines her priorities for the coming years, including the need to address the “clear and present danger” of climate change to the Commonwealth’s small and vulnerable member countries.
She also discusses the Commonwealth’s role in developing opportunities for young people, in boosting good governance, and the importance of ending violence against women and girls.
In a wide-ranging interview with Alankar Srivastava, the magazine’s editor-at-large, Secretary-General Scotland also touches upon potential trade and commercial opportunities available following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.
“The Commonwealth is a vehicle for advancing countries’ shared values and priorities, from democracy to trade and economic development,” she says.
“As my predecessor Kamalesh Sharma often used to say, the Commonwealth may have emerged during the last century, but it is very much designed for the twenty-first century.
“Comprising more than 80 different intergovernmental, civil society and professional organisations, the Commonwealth is a symbol of diversity and unity, and an incubator of ideas that help to drive positive change in the world.”
The interview features in the December edition of The Diplomatist, a magazine published in India which this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary.
In the 3,000-word article, Secretary-General Scotland goes on to praise the contribution of India to the Commonwealth and the achievements of her predecessor as Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma.
“India occupies a special place in the modern Commonwealth as one of its original founders,” she says, adding that “all Indians can be immensely proud of the leading role their country has played in the Commonwealth over the past decades.”