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Our work

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

Strengthening Macro Economic Capacity in the Office of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning

The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting the Government of Kingdom of Tonga through strengthening the knowledge base on macro-economic policy planning.

Implementation of Industrial Property Rights Act 2014 in compliance with WTO TRIPS Agreement

The Commonwealth Secretariat is supporting the Government of Seychelles in developing and implementing the industrial property legislation and standards of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Seychelles Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap and Implementation

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Government of Seychelles to validate and implement the Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap and support Seychelles in its transition to a more integrated ocean-based economy.

Supporting the establishment of a Public Policy Unit

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Cabinet Office, within the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to improve its public service delivery through the establishment of a Public Policy Unit.

Strengthening financial sector regulation through Commonwealth institutional linkages

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.

Strengthening public financial management standards

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Government Namibia to better regulate its public accountants and auditors in order to protect the financial interest of the Namibian public and international investors.

Support for system-wide educational reform and the development of a regulatory framework for higher education

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Government of the Republic of Mauritius to address strategic gaps in the current system-wide educational reform effort

Supporting Burundi to boost trade and competitiveness

Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Accessing finance towards the implementation of multilateral trade agreements.

Supporting Jamaica’s legal system

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.

Formulation of a civil service strategy for Mauritius

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”.

Advancing Guyana’s regional and multilateral trade agenda

The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Supporting the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs on trade development.

Creating synergies to improve trade in the Caribbean

The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Supporting the Caribbean Community in Guyana on trade development.

‘Pleased to be helping improve Lesotho’s export capabilities’

The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Building Lesotho's trade capacity domestically through various negotiation and policy processes.

‘Be Marshallese, Buy Marshallese’

The Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Enhancing trade capacity and domestic competitiveness in trade in the Republic of Marshall Islands.

Providing trade assistance to Federated States of Micronesia

Hub and Spokes II Programme: Success story - building The Federated States of Micronesia's productive sector capacity.

Raising Malawi’s voice in trade negotiations

Commonwealth in action: Hub and Spokes II - Developing Malawi's competitive export economy.

Strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre

The Government of Botswana south the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre.

Strengthening of Sierra Leone Public Health System

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone, has requested assistance to establish a reliable integrated disease surveillance and response network.

Strengthening the institutional drafting capacity of the Attorney General's Office in Belize Belize Attorney General's office

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.

Strengthening the Judiciary of Sierra Leone The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to support the reform and restructuring of the Judiciary's systems and processes.

Strengthening the Magistrates Court System of Namibia The Supreme Court of Namibia

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 Pacific Islands Forum countries in PACER Plus trade negotiations View of a Pacific island from the sea

Supporting the Office of the Chief Technical Advisor (OCTA) to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) countries in trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.

Support in the Caribbean for climate change adaptation The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

The Secretariat has been working with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to implement the Regional Plan for 'Achieving Resilience to Climate Change'.

Implementation of Anguilla's Sustainable Tourism Master Plan A swimming pool complex

The Ministry of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce and Tourism requested technical assistance to support the implementation of Anguilla's Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

Building Grenada's capacity to manage investment initiatives An aerial view of Grenada

The Government of Grenada requested technical assistance to build capacity to effectively lead and manage current and future investment initiatives.

Sustainable management of seabed mineral resources in the Cook Islands

The Government of the Cook Islands' Ministry of Marine Resources requested technical assistance in the development of the seabed minerals regulatory framework.

Building the institutional capacity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria Nigerian Police

National institutions effectively facilitating administration and delivery of rule of law and justice.

Performance Management Framework for the Cook Islands Cook Islands

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.

Enhancement of Anguilla's Financial Services Commission Anguilla - island harbour

This project will enhance the capability of Anguilla Financial Services Commission staff to conduct regulatory checks.

Reviewing the National Youth Policy of Saint Lucia School children in a classroom

The Government of Saint Lucia requested technical assistance to facilitate the review of the National Youth Policy, which was enacted in 2003.

Implementing Sierra Leone's Public Service Pay Strategy Workers group together and look at paperwork

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.

Strengthening Lesotho's Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences A ballot official holds up an empty ballot box pre-election

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.

Supporting climate finance readiness and access in the Pacific and Caribbean Waves crash against the rocks

A two year project designed to support improved climate financing frameworks in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Institutional strengthening and capacity building of Belize's public sector Government building in Belize

The Government of Belize requested technical assistance for the comprehensive review of the job classification and compensation structure, policies, systems and practices.

Institutional strengthening of the Attorney General’s Office in The Bahamas Government House in Nassau, The Bahamas

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.

Improving functional administration within Grenada's Cabinet Office Grenada flag

The Government of Grenada requested technical assistance to strengthen the institutional policy and administrative capacity within the Prime Minister's Office.

Strengthening local governance for national development in Sri Lanka Local people queue in the streets of Sri Lanka

The Commonwealth Secretariat is working in partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum to strengthen local governance for national development in Sri Lanka.

Supporting the legislative drafting needs of Jamaica's Ministry of Justice A group of magistrates

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.

Supporting decentralisation in Sierra Leone Meeting of a group of people in Sierra Leone

The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to build the capacity of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development

Supporting national strategic development planning in Saint Lucia Bananas, growing in St Lucia

The Department of Economic Planning and National Development requested technical assistance to support an integrated approach to develop a National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Digitisation of the Vital Statistics Registry in Tonga Two woman use a camera to digitalise a physical records book

The purpose of the project was to safeguard the historical data and update record keeping practices of Tonga’s vital statistics.

Strengthening the capacity of the High Court of Lesotho Lesotho Parliament

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

Supporting the Attorney General's office in Kenya View of Nairobi, Kenya

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.

Institutional strengthening of Seychelles' Ministry of Finance Victoria, Seychelles

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.

Institutional strengthening of the Auditor General's Office in Botswana Gaberone, Botswana

Technical assistance was requested in order to strengthen the capacity of the Auditor General's Office and improve financial governance and service delivery

Strengthening the capacity of the justice system of Swaziland High Court, Swaziland

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.

Strengthening the capacity of the High Court of Kiribati Parliament, Kiribati

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.

Legislative drafting assistance to the Attorney General's Office in Seychelles "Books on legal writing" by Coolcaesar at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

This project's purpose was to strengthen the legislative drafting capacity of the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and to draft key legislation.

Strengthening health workforce planning in Saint Lucia New Hospital, Saint Lucia

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.

Strengthening of legislative drafting offices in the Caribbean Caribbean sunset

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.

Strengthening of Kenya's School of Monetary Studies Kenya School of Monetary Studies

The project delivered a more effective e-banking service to poor communities in Kenya as part of implementing Vision 2030.

Strengthening the capacity of the Judiciary in Seychelles Victoria, Seychelles

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.

Strengthening the institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu Vanuatu island

This project aims to strengthen institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu to reduce backlog of cases and improve administration of justice.

Sentencing policy assistance to the Attorney General's Office in Botswana Botswana Attorney General's Office

Assisting Botswana's Attorney General's Office in formulating a sentencing policy

Support for Mauritius’ participation in the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations Mauritius

Project to assess implications of joining Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.

Pacific policymakers equipped to tackle youth unemployment Policy makers group

Senior government officials in the Pacific are better equipped to develop youth job creation programmes following technical training from the Commonwealth Secretariat and partners.

Post-2015: Say Yes to Youth Goal Youths applauding

Join the campaign for a Youth Goal in the post-2015 development framework: #Yes2YouthGoal

Commonwealth Expert Team: Rwanda 2013 Legislative Election Rwanda

A Commonwealth Expert Team observed Rwanda’s 16-18 September 2013 Legislative Election.

Helping countries manage debt Image of a man in front of an ATM machine and a woman holding cash and a card at a bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For nearly 30 years The Commonwealth’s debt recording software has helped countries manage their debt and in turn develop their economies.

Bankers on bikes in Vanuatu Bankers on bikes

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.

Observing Swaziland’s National Elections Image of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Swaziland 2013, from left to right: Commonwealth Secretariat's Koffi Sawyer and Linford Andrews; Alicia Swinamer, National Director of MYCommonwealth; Dr Bakili Muluzi; Sa-adatu Maida, Election Commissioner for Ghana; Dr Curtis Michael Jacobs, Head of Centre, The University of the West Indies Open Campus Grenada; and the Commonwealth Secretariat's Zippy Ojago

The Commonwealth observed Swaziland’s National Elections on 20 September, 2013.

Supporting countries to prepare for the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process Image of Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

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.

Commonwealth supports The Bahamas in applying for seabed rights Image of hands pointing at maps

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.

Building the resilience of small states to withstand shocks Image of a gardener working on the grounds of Solomon Islands National Parliament taking in the view of the capital. Copyright: Commonwealth Secretariat. Credit: Tom Perry.

The Commonwealth is strengthening a framework that supports small states to withstand economic shocks and natural disasters.

Pakistan’s historic General Elections, May 2013 Image of women walking in Islamabad, Pakistan. Copyright: Commonwealth Secretariat. Credit: Minelle Fernandez

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.

Sierra Leone retains its record of peaceful democracy Image of a man posting his vote at the Sierra Leone 2012 elections. Copyright: Commonwealth Secretariat

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.

Protecting coastal habitats to mitigate against climate change in Vanuatu Image of young people swimming and canoeing. Copyright: Dan Lafolley

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.

Training prison officials on human rights in prison management Image of prisoners

Educating people about human rights, especially those in positions of authority, is fundamental to protecting and promoting them.

Developing an Eastern Caribbean ocean policy Image of Guyanese fishermen

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

Mauritius and Seychelles secure and manage joint seabed rights through continental shelf submission Image of scuba divers and fish

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.

Commonwealth assists seven Pacific countries to settle maritime boundaries Image of beach

The Pacific islands region has approximately 48 shared boundaries where maritime entitlements overlap as a matter of international law.

Promoting and strengthening e-health in East and Southern Africa Image of office workers

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.

Commonwealth Regulatory Network Image of people trading

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.

Increasing Citizen Participation in Sierra Leone’s Governance

“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

Raising the Quality of Education: Developing Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders Image of teacher and students

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.

Building the capacity of Ugandan organic exporters to access the UK market Image of Ugandan woman with organic products for export

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.

Strengthening debt management in Jamaica Jamaican flag

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.

Women’s land rights in Cameroon Image of women in Sierra Leone

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.