25 September 2012
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma addressed delegates from 24 Commonwealth accredited organisations on the association’s reform and renewal agenda in London on Monday, 24 September.
Mr Sharma discussed the upcoming Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting, to be held in New York on Saturday, 29 September, where ministers will discuss the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), the Commonwealth Charter, and the new Commonwealth Secretariat Strategic Plan.
Mr Sharma said there was great potential for Commonwealth societies and organisations to play a role as the Secretariat re-examined the way it worked in its strategic plan.
Following agreement by leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2011, the Secretariat has been working on a plan that focuses on areas where it has a comparative advantage against other international organisations, and where it can make distinct, practical and measurable contributions to the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth accredited organisations promote the Commonwealth’s shared goals and values. They work with the Secretariat to plan and deliver projects.
Speaking to delegates at Monday’s meeting, the Secretary-General said: “I believe that exchanges such as during this meeting are vital for maintaining partnership and collaboration, which have always been such a special feature of Commonwealth co-operation.”
It is expected that the strategic plan will be approved by a pan-Commonwealth meeting of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Board of Governors in November.
A ministerial task force will advise foreign ministers at Saturday’s meeting on 44 of the EPG’s recommendations, before further consideration by Commonwealth Heads of Government.
The EPG was established by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2009 to sharpen the impact, strengthen the networks, and raise the profile of the Commonwealth.
Thirty of the EPG’s recommendations were adopted at the 2011 CHOGM. A further 12 have been adopted but are subject to consideration of their financial implications.
Commonwealth organisations reviewed the draft Commonwealth Charter earlier this year, alongside national consultations. The charter consolidates previous statements on the fundamental values and principles of the Commonwealth.
The Secretary-General also discussed the role of Commonwealth Connects in creating effective networks on Monday.
The secure online collaboration platform enables professionals to store, share and work on content with peers around the world – anytime and anywhere.
Monday’s biannual meeting was hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation.