Commonwealth organisations are involved in diverse activities, from helping countries with trade negotiations to encouraging women’s leadership, building the small business sector, supporting youth participation at all levels of society and providing experts to write laws.
The Commonwealth Secretariat promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development. We are a voice for small states and a champion for youth empowerment.
The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) was set-up in 1971 and is the principal means for the Commonwealth Secretariat to provide technical assistance to Commonwealth countries. Our approach emphasises country ownership by delivering technical assistance on a demand-driven basis.
Read more about our work in the report of the Commonwealth Secretary-General 2011-2013 and in our Strategic Plan 2013/14-2016/17
Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Accessing finance towards the implementation of multilateral trade agreements.
The Commonwealth in Action: Petrona Sealey-Browne is a CFTC expert at the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in Jamaica. Lainy Malkani writes about Petrona's work.
Mauritius has sought the technical assistance to formulate a Civil Service Reform Strategy to ensure that the Government can achieve its vision of “A professional Public Service committed to excellence”.
The Commonwealth Electoral Network with funding from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Commonwealth Secretariat launched the Junior Election Professionals Initiative to build the capacity of the next generation of electoral administrators.
Launched in 2010, the Commonwealth Electoral Network contributes towards strengthening the role, independence and capacity of national election management bodies.
The Commonwealth has been observing electoral processes since 1967 when we observed a referendum in Gibraltar. Since then, we have observed around 140 elections in nearly 40 countries.
The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Supporting the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs on trade development.
The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Supporting the Caribbean Community in Guyana on trade development.
The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Building Lesotho's trade capacity domestically through various negotiation and policy processes.
The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Enhancing trade capacity and domestic competitiveness in trade in the Republic of Marshall Islands.
Hub and Spokes II Programme: Success story - building The Federated States of Micronesia's productive sector capacity.
Commonwealth in action: Hub and Spokes II - Developing Malawi's competitive export economy.
The Government of Botswana south the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone, has requested assistance to establish a reliable integrated disease surveillance and response network.
The purpose of this project is to enhance the legal drafting capacity in the Attorney General's Ministry of Belize thus improving the operational effectiveness of the drafting unit.
The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to support the reform and restructuring of the Judiciary's systems and processes.
The Government of the Republic Namibia requested assistance to increase the capacity of the magistrates and the Magistrates' Court System as a national development priority.
Supporting the Office of the Chief Technical Advisor (OCTA) to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) countries in trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
The Secretariat has been working with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to implement the Regional Plan for 'Achieving Resilience to Climate Change'.
The Ministry of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce and Tourism requested technical assistance to support the implementation of Anguilla's Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.
The Government of Grenada requested technical assistance to build capacity to effectively lead and manage current and future investment initiatives.
The Government of the Cook Islands' Ministry of Marine Resources requested technical assistance in the development of the seabed minerals regulatory framework.
National institutions effectively facilitating administration and delivery of rule of law and justice.
The project will support the Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) to develop a robust Performance Management Framework and necessary capacities for its implementation.
This project will enhance the capability of Anguilla Financial Services Commission staff to conduct regulatory checks.
The Government of Saint Lucia requested technical assistance to facilitate the review of the National Youth Policy, which was enacted in 2003.
The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance for the reform of public pay as part of the preliminary work for the establishment of a Wage Commission.
The Government of Lesotho requested technical assistance to strengthen the operational and policy framework of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to more effectively execute its mandate.
A two year project designed to support improved climate financing frameworks in the Caribbean and Pacific.
The Government of Belize requested technical assistance for the comprehensive review of the job classification and compensation structure, policies, systems and practices.
The Government of the Bahamas requested technical assistance to strengthen the procedural rules and justice institutions of the Bahamas, to ensure improved access and swift justice administration and delivery.
The Government of Grenada requested technical assistance to strengthen the institutional policy and administrative capacity within the Prime Minister's Office.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is working in partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum to strengthen local governance for national development in Sri Lanka.
The Government of Jamaica requested technical assistance to enable the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to be better able to respond to the legislative drafting needs of Jamaica.
The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to build the capacity of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
The Department of Economic Planning and National Development requested technical assistance to support an integrated approach to develop a National Sustainable Development Strategy.
The purpose of the project was to safeguard the historical data and update record keeping practices of Tonga’s vital statistics.
This project aimed to strengthen the capacity of the High Court of Lesotho, through building its capacity in case management, judgement writing and judicial administration systems and procedures
This project's purpose is to strengthen the capacity of the Attorney General's Office and the Kenya Law Reform Commission to draft new constitutional legislation.
Seychelles' Ministry of Finance requested technical assistance to facilitate the process of Seychelles' accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), whilst building the institutional and technical capacity within the Trade Division.
Technical assistance was requested in order to strengthen the capacity of the Auditor General's Office and improve financial governance and service delivery
This project supported greater access to justice through the clearing of substantial case backlogs and has improved the quality and timeliness of court practice and administration.
This project aims to strengthen the capacity of the High Court of Kiribati, including in the improving of the operational effectiveness of the court system.
This project's purpose was to strengthen the legislative drafting capacity of the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and to draft key legislation.
This two-year project has aimed to support the development of a human resource workforce planning policy and to provide capacity building to the Ministry of Health.
The aim of this project is to strengthen financial sector regulation in the Commonwealth through the provision of assistance to developing countries in implementing global financial sector regulatory standards.
This project is aimed at supporting the operations and improving the technical capacity of legislative drafting offices in Commonwealth Caribbean member countries, particularly small states.
The project delivered a more effective e-banking service to poor communities in Kenya as part of implementing Vision 2030.
This project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Seychelles in order to improve the operational effectiveness of the judicial system.
This project aims to strengthen institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu to reduce backlog of cases and improve administration of justice.
Assisting Botswana's Attorney General's Office in formulating a sentencing policy
Project to assess implications of joining Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.
Senior government officials in the Pacific are better equipped to develop youth job creation programmes following technical training from the Commonwealth Secretariat and partners.
Join the campaign for a Youth Goal in the post-2015 development framework: #Yes2YouthGoal
A Commonwealth Expert Team observed Rwanda’s 16-18 September 2013 Legislative Election.
For nearly 30 years The Commonwealth’s debt recording software has helped countries manage their debt and in turn develop their economies.
How do you encourage people to bank their money where no bank branches exist? The National Bank of Vanuatu with support from The Commonwealth had some ideas.
The Commonwealth observed Swaziland’s National Elections on 20 September, 2013.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) examines the human rights records of 193 UN member states once every four and a half years. Each country reports on how it is implementing its human rights obligations under international human rights law and standards, and receives recommendations from other states in improving their compliance. Some countries face challenges in reporting under the Review due to limited financial and human resources to collate and analyse information.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has assisted The Bahamas to claim over 200,000 sq km of additional continental shelf (seabed) through a submission to the United Nations in collaboration with officials in The Bahamas.
The Commonwealth is strengthening a framework that supports small states to withstand economic shocks and natural disasters.
Following an invitation from Pakistan’s Independent Electoral Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat sent a group of eminent persons to observe the country’s elections in May 2013.
Following an invitation from Sierra Leone’s Independent Electoral Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat sent a group of eminent persons to observe the country’s elections in November 2012.
The Commonwealth has been working with the Government of Vanuatu to assess how protecting coastal habitats can work towards climate change mitigation and adaptation - the first assessment of its kind in the South Pacific region.
Educating people about human rights, especially those in positions of authority, is fundamental to protecting and promoting them.
The Commonwealth has been assisting the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat with the development and implementation of a regional ocean policy, the first of its kind in the Caribbean
A number of small-island and developing member countries face serious obstacles to managing and securing the benefits that may be associated with the management of ocean space, including the development of potentially lucrative marine resources.
The Pacific islands region has approximately 48 shared boundaries where maritime entitlements overlap as a matter of international law.
Many Commonwealth countries are in need of innovative approaches for enhancing the provision of adequate healthcare to citizens. Geographic remoteness in particular, along with high levels of poverty among some of the membership’s most excluded and marginalised populations, is a major challenge for members that lack adequate resourcing and physical infrastructure to facilitate delivery.
In 2009, the Commonwealth Secretariat was tasked by Commonwealth finance ministers to find means of strengthening the linkages amongst financial sector regulators in Commonwealth countries.
“Transformation requires aggressive collaboration and cooperation of many individuals, so as citizens, we all share the duty to transform Sierra Leone. Through TSL, we will help ensure the public trust, and establish a system of accountability, engagement and collaboration.” Finance Minister, Dr Kaifala Marah
Although there has been progress in recent years in expanding education and training opportunities in the Commonwealth member states, quality education remains a common concern. The 16th, 17th and 18th Commonwealth Conferences of Education Ministers emphasised the need to provide quality training and development for teachers to meet education needs at all levels. Ensuring that the teaching profession operates at the highest possible standards lies a the heart of quality education.
The agriculture of Uganda is almost entirely organic, and the climate is conducive to growing a range of successful crops. The year-round equable, level warm-to-high temperatures and two rainy seasons make for ideal growing conditions for a wide range of crops. The organic market in the UK of $US 2.25 billion is large and ready to take more produce from Uganda. However, linkages between the production potential of the country with the organic market is not fully developed.
Prudent debt management practice in many Commonwealth countries remains a challenge. The reasons for this are multiple, and include: lack of adequate management information systems, lack of clear governance and institutional structures, and lack of capacity among staff.
The Commonwealth has produced handbooks on women's land rights in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. "The handbook has proved to be empowering and a trump card for women, elucidating for men, instructive for the traditional rulers, and thought-provoking for policy makers” – Judge Vera Ngassa, Cameroon.