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Sir Don McKinnon speaking at a conference

Don McKinnon becomes the fourth Commonwealth Secretary-General


Sir Don McKinnon of New Zealand served as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 2000 to 2008

As Commonwealth Secretary-General, his achievements included:

  • Modernising the Commonwealth Secretariat's structure and internal organisation.
  • Enhancing the profile of the Commonwealth and ensuring that its work is better known by the general public.
  • Building strategic partnerships with other international organisations, as well as synergies with civil society, in pursuit of the values and objectives of the Commonwealth.
  • Putting young people at the heart of the Commonwealth's work, promoting youth programmes, particularly in relation to HIV/AIDS.
  • Defending the rights of small states, ensuring that their special vulnerabilities are recognised and their interests promoted on the international agenda.
  • Strengthening the work of the Commonwealth in promoting democratic practices, good governance and respect for human rights.
  • Promoting the establishment of a fair, rules-based multilateral trading system, ensuring that developing countries' interests are duly reflected in international trade talks.
  • Making a strong stand on the need for developed countries to reduce agricultural subsidies, giving developing countries a fair chance to trade their way out of poverty.