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.