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  • Resolving maritime boundaries

    Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines reach a landmark agreement that settles the maritime boundary between their two territories.

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Small states

Small states are sovereign countries with a population of 1.5 million people or fewer. There are 30 small states in the Commonwealth.

As members of the Commonwealth, small states have an equal voice. It enables them to take part in international decision-making on issues that affect them, such as climate change.

With limited resources, small states face many challenges, including:

  • dependence on a narrow range of exports
  • high transportation costs due to insularity and remoteness
  • dependence on strategic imports such as food and fuel
  • susceptibility to natural disasters and environmental change 
  • decline in global trade and investment
  • lack of readily available information for investors and trading partners
  • limited capacity to harness growth opportunities. 

Some larger countries - Botswana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Namibia and Papua New Guinea - are classified as small states as they share similar characteristics.

Commonwealth Secretariat Champion of Small States




Commonwealth a ‘potent voice’ for small developing states, says senior minister

The foreign affairs minister for St Kitts and Nevis says he’s convinced of the value of the Commonwealth to small and developing states.

Small states struggling to tackle illegal trade of arms

Small Commonwealth states have asked the Secretariat to help them tackle the illegal arms trade and implement the Arms Trade Treaty in a more effective way.

Blog: Keep calm, we're experiencing a paradigm shift on climate change

The Commonwealth may be evolving into the world’s leading ‘impact bloc’ on climate change, writes John Elkington, a participant at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate Change Workshop