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Image of CHOGM 2013: Commonwealth Heads of Government and their representatives and on front row (right to left) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and HRH The Prince of Wales

Our governance

Head of the Commonwealth

HM Queen Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth. 

The Head of The Commonwealth’s role includes a number of symbolic functions. 

There is no maximum fixed term for the Head of The Commonwealth. The choice of successive Heads will be made collectively by Commonwealth leaders.

Commonwealth Secretary-General

Kamalesh Sharma is the Commonwealth Secretary-General. Mr Sharma was formerly India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. In that role he served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation.
 
The Secretary-General is responsible for representing The Commonwealth publicly and for the management of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Secretary-General is nominated by Commonwealth leaders and can serve a maximum of two four-year terms.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretaries-General

Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba and Deodat Maharaj are the Commonwealth Deputy Secretaries-General. The Deputy Secretaries-General support the Secretary-General in the management and executive direction of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Mrs Masire-Mwamba was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Botswana's Investment Promotion Agency.

Mr Maharaj was formerly Chief, Division for Afghanistan, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York.

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) deals with serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth political values and can recommend measures for collective action. 

CMAG can also consider situations of concern in member countries in a proactive, engaged and positive manner.

Its authority to suspend or even recommend to Commonwealth leaders that a member country be expelled is unparalleled by other international organisations. 

The Group is convened by the Commonwealth Secretary-General and is made up of a representative of the Commonwealth’s Chair-in-Office and foreign ministers from eight countries - who serve a two-year term.

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors approves the Commonwealth Secretariat’s work plans and budgets. All member governments are represented on the Board of Governors, which meets annually.

Commonwealth Chair-in-Office

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office.

The Chair-in-Office is the leader of the Commonwealth country that hosts a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The two-year role comes into effect at the start of the CHOGM.

The Chair-in-Office voices Commonwealth positions at high-level international forums and reinforces the Good Offices role of the Commonwealth Secretary-General. The term ‘Good Offices’ refers to conflict prevention and resolution work carried out in Commonwealth countries.