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Small States Centre of Excellence “a life line”

25 November 2015

The Government of Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat will fund a new initiative to help small states recover from natural disasters, manage debt and get more women into enterprise.

The Small States Centre of Excellence, was first proposed by Malta at the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Jointly Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat are expected to contribute over €400, 000 in the first three years of the project. The Government of Malta will give €100, 000 in 2016, its first year of operation. It will also provide premises, staffing and utilities. The Secretariat has committed to at least £100, 000 a year for the first three years.

Announcing the initiative at the 2015 CHOGM opening press conference, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said: “CHOGM is a forum where we can work in very concrete terms. The Small States Centre of Excellence is a concrete measure we will take forward to help small states."

The Centre, which will be guided by a board of directors and chaired by the Government of Malta, will offer tailored support to small states to address challenges such as debt and climate change.

The initiative will also focus on improving broadband connectivity, diplomatic training, helping women in enterprise and ocean governance. It will work in collaboration with the other Maltese initiatives on small states.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma described the announcement of the Centre as a “watershed moment for the Commonwealth”.

“This initiative is a life-line for developing small states which are constantly having to manoeuvre multiple challenges to achieve economic growth. One of the great benefits of the Centre is that it provides targeted support, so that small states can get help when and where they need it.”

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