The Secretariat’s objective is to prevent and resolve conflict, while also strengthening the ability of member countries to promote our fundamental values. These Commonwealth values, laid down in the 1971 Declaration of Commonwealth Principles and the 1991 Harare Declaration, include equal rights, independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and just and honest government.
To support democracy and peace the Secretariat works with Commonwealth countries to improve the political atmosphere when conflict or tensions emerge. We help consolidate and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. We also promote the upholding of democracy and good governance by public and civil society organisations.
Much of this work takes place at senior levels and behind the scenes where we are able to operate most directly and effectively. For example, after the elections in Kenya in December 2007, we worked closely with the African Union and the United Nations, supporting peace initiatives led by Kofi Annan and the Panel of African Eminent Persons.
When countries we have been working with achieve lasting democracy and peace, our involvement can be seen as a positive contribution towards making this possible.