“The Commonwealth is not an organisation with a mission. It is rather an opportunity for its people to work together to achieve practical solutions to problems” - HRH Queen Elizabeth II
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 the importance of country ownership - a fundamental principle of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness - by delivering technical assistance on a demand-driven basis.
Working with the requesting member countries as equal partners in the development process, our role is to help our members to define projects, through clear understanding of the problem to be addressed and the context (political, social and economic) in which the project must work. In turn, we support the definition of an appropriate solution that draws on the wealth of expertise and knowledge available throughout the Commonwealth, derived from the membership’s shared historical, legal and administrative traditions.
Leveraging the expertise that exists across the Commonwealth, we work closely with in-house advisers to mobilise long-term support for member countries. The assistance provided emphasises south-south cooperation in order to enable greater relevance, understanding and suitability for purpose.
In keeping with the Commonwealth Secretariat's Gender Equality Policy, all our projects aim to mainstream gender considerations in their design, delivery and monitoring.
Technical assistance is provided in many forms, including:
By embedding our experts within partner country institutions they are able to gain a better grasp of the country context and the related constraints and opportunities, and in doing so are better equipped to provide advice and assistance that is relevant, respectful and sensitive to these considerations. This is why we consider our capacity development approaches to be guided far more by “best fit” than “best practice”.
Fundamentally, our focus is on strengthening national capabilities through institutional development and capacity-building with a view to long-term sustainability.
Kelly Culver describes a typical day on the job as Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation expert supporting civil service improvements in Mauritius.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines requested Commonwealth Secretariat support to strengthen capacity at the principal office of the Department of Maritime Administration, (SVGMARAD), to ensure effective supervision and regulations of all matters related to maritime affairs.
Commonwealth Secretariat has placed a trade adviser in Geneva to assist Commonwealth small states in WTO deliberations