Small states are sovereign countries with a population of 1.5 million people or fewer. There are 31 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:
Some larger countries - Botswana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Namibia and Papua New Guinea - are classified as small states as they share similar characteristics.
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.
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.
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.