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Our work

The Commonwealth is an association of 54 countries working towards shared goals of prosperity, democracy and peace. The Commonwealth Secretariat is the intergovernmental organisation which co-ordinates and carries out much of the Commonwealth's work, supported by a network of more than 80 organisations.

The Secretariat works all over the Commonwealth, to:

The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) is the main way that the Commonwealth Secretariat provides technical help to Commonwealth countries. We make sure the help we offer is driven by what countries tell us they need.

Read more about our work in our Strategic Plan 2017/18 – 2020/21.

10 lessons learned in advising an island nation on trade policy  Farmer prepares taro for re-planting Tongatapu Tonga

Jean Bertrand Azapmo is a national trade adviser with the Hub and Spokes programme, an innovative aid for trade initiative supporting countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific to boost trade and prosperity.

Commonwealth assists Vanuatu Supreme Court A gavel and the scales of justice

Commonwealth assistance to the Supreme Court of Vanuatu has strengthened the Pacific island’s capacity to deal with the volume of cases and the time they take to be processed.

Boosting trade in services within Africa is a win-win for diverse economies A man carrying a stick with lots of colourful bead necklaces on it

The Hub and Spokes programme provides trade experts to national ministries and regional trade organisations in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states.

Strengthening the protection of consumer rights in Lesotho Two women surrounded by bolts of colourful fabric

The Hub and Spokes programme is helping Lesotho’s government to boost consumer protection.

Commonwealth praised for supporting Pacific trade Inside a busy market in Vanuatu

Commonwealth in Action: Lainy Malkani speaks to Commonwealth experts about their work in the Pacific.

Strengthening of maritime and ocean affairs in St.Vincent and Grenadines  Kingstown harbour in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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 regulation of maritime affairs.

Assistance to small states on multilateral trade issues Two large cargo ships docked at a port

Commonwealth Secretariat has placed a trade adviser in Geneva to assist Commonwealth small states in WTO deliberations

Development and finalisation of new St Kitts and Nevis National Youth Policy and Strategic Action Plan Looking down on Turtle Beach, St Kitts with Nevis in the background

A new national youth policy in St Kitts and Nevis, supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat, will allow young people to reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the development of the country.

The Commonwealth in Action: Expert’s assistance boosts economic development in Grenada Aerial view of St. George’s, Grenada

Lainy Malkani writes about Commonwealth expert Kaisha Ince’s work as a Senior Commercial Counsel in Grenada.

Review and Development of New National Youth Policy in Dominica Houses on hills around a small harbour

The government of Commonwealth of Dominica has requested Commonwealth technical assistance to facilitate the review of their National Youth Policy.

Helping Fiji to become a Pacific trading and investment hub Launch of the Fiji Trade Policy Framework by the Hon. Prime Minister of Fiji

Fiji is an open economy classified by the World Bank as a middle income country. The country is reform oriented in order to boost trade development, and is strategically positioned within the South Pacific region.

Helping mainstream trade into Kiribati policy Fishing in Kiribati, 2008

Samson Odhiambo is a National Trade Adviser deployed to the Kiribati Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. Read his blog.

Commonwealth expert helps enhance trade capacity in the Caribbean A group of people sitting at a conference table

Sunday Oghayei, a regional trade adviser, has been supporting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Guyana on trade development since July 2015. Read his blog.

The Commonwealth in Action: Developing a National Youth Policy for St Lucia A group of people sitting around a table having a discussion

Lainy Malkani writes about Commonwealth expert Dwynette Eversley’s work with young people in Saint Lucia

Trade adviser helps to create a competitive services market in East Africa A yellow forklift truck carrying a shipping container

Commonwealth in Action: Hub and Spokes II - Donor collaboration to promote trade in services.

Strengthening macro-economic capacity in the Office of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning Man speaking into a two-way radio at Nuku'alofa wharf, Tonga

The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting the Government of Kingdom of Tonga through strengthening the knowledge base on macro-economic policy planning.

Implementation of Industrial Property Rights Act 2014 in compliance with WTO TRIPS Agreement Flag of Seychelles fluttering in the wind

The Commonwealth Secretariat is supporting the Government of Seychelles in developing and implementing the industrial property legislation and standards of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Seychelles Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap and Implementation Anse Takamaka, Praslin island in Seychelles

The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting the Government of Seychelles to validate and implement its Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap in support of Seychelles’ transition to a more integrated ocean-based economy.

Supporting the establishment of a Public Policy Unit View of St John from the west with Heritage Quay shopping centre in the foreground

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Cabinet Office, within the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to improve its public service delivery through the establishment of a Public Policy Unit.

Strengthening financial sector regulation through Commonwealth institutional linkages A group of people sitting around a table having a meeting

The aim of this project is to strengthen financial sector regulation in the Commonwealth through the provision of assistance to developing countries in implementing global financial sector regulatory standards.

Strengthening public financial management standards Close-up aerial photo of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, Namibia

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Government Namibia to better regulate its public accountants and auditors in order to protect the financial interest of the Namibian public and international investors.

Support for system-wide educational reform and the development of a regulatory framework for higher education Five people sitting together having a discussion

The Commonwealth Secretariat is to assist the Government of the Republic of Mauritius to address strategic gaps in the current system-wide educational reform effort

Supporting Burundi to boost trade and competitiveness Burundi Market

Youssouf Kone, a trade adviser, has been working with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism in Burundi since 2011. Read his blog.

Supporting Jamaica’s legal system A gavel placed next to the scales of justice

The Commonwealth in Action: Petrona Sealey-Browne is a CFTC expert at the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in Jamaica. Lainy Malkani writes about Petrona's work.

Formulation of a civil service strategy for Mauritius Queen Victoria statue in front of Government House, Port Louis, Mauritius

Mauritius has sought the technical assistance to formulate a Civil Service Reform Strategy to ensure that the Government can achieve its vision of “A professional Public Service committed to excellence”.

Advancing Guyana’s regional and multilateral trade agenda Bartica, Guyana market

Edmund Kalekyezi, a regional trade adviser, has been supporting the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs on trade development since 2006. Read his blog.

Creating synergies to improve trade in the Caribbean Nordana Shipping, CARICOM Commerce

Sunday Oghayei, a regional trade adviser, has been supporting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Guyana on trade development since July 2015. Read his blog.

‘Pleased to be helping improve Lesotho’s export capabilities’  The library quadrangle at National University of Lesotho

Samuel Yeboah, a trade adviser, has been working with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Lesotho since 2014. Read his blog.

‘Be Marshallese, Buy Marshallese’ The sea appearing in the gap between two houses in Majuro, The Marshall Islands

Radika Kumar, a trade adviser, has been working with the Ministry of Resources and Development in the Republic of Marshall Islands since 2014. Read her blog.

Raising Malawi’s voice in trade negotiations Busy market in Lilongwe, Malawi

Commonwealth in action: Hub and Spokes II - Developing Malawi's competitive export economy.

Strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre Five men in blue uniforms standing together

The Government of Botswana south the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre.

Strengthening of Sierra Leone Public Health System Doctors checking the patient register in a ward

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone, has requested assistance to establish a reliable integrated disease surveillance and response network.

Strengthening the institutional drafting capacity of the Attorney General's Office in Belize Belize Attorney General's office

The purpose of this project is to enhance the legal drafting capacity in the Attorney General's Ministry of Belize thus improving the operational effectiveness of the drafting unit.

Strengthening the Judiciary of Sierra Leone The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone

The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to support the reform and restructuring of the Judiciary's systems and processes.

Strengthening the Magistrates Court System of Namibia The Supreme Court of Namibia

The Government of the Republic Namibia requested assistance to increase the capacity of the magistrates and the Magistrates' Court System as a national development priority.

Supporting Pacific Islands Forum countries in PACER Plus trade negotiations View of a Pacific island from the sea

Supporting the Office of the Chief Technical Advisor (OCTA) to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) countries in trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.

Support in the Caribbean for climate change adaptation The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

The Secretariat has been working with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to implement the Regional Plan for 'Achieving Resilience to Climate Change'.

Implementation of Anguilla's Sustainable Tourism Master Plan A swimming pool complex

The Ministry of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce and Tourism requested technical assistance to support the implementation of Anguilla's Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

Building Grenada's capacity to manage investment initiatives An aerial view of Grenada

The Government of Grenada requested technical assistance to build capacity to effectively lead and manage current and future investment initiatives.

Sustainable management of seabed mineral resources in the Cook Islands Remotely operated submersible vehicle being lowered into the sea

The Government of the Cook Islands' Ministry of Marine Resources requested technical assistance in the development of the seabed minerals regulatory framework.

Building the institutional capacity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria Nigerian Police

National institutions effectively facilitating administration and delivery of rule of law and justice.

Performance Management Framework for the Cook Islands Aerial view of Penrhyn atoll, Cook Islands

The project will support the Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) to develop a robust Performance Management Framework and necessary capacities for its implementation.

Enhancement of Anguilla's Financial Services Commission Anguilla - island harbour

This project will enhance the capability of Anguilla Financial Services Commission staff to conduct regulatory checks.

Reviewing the National Youth Policy of Saint Lucia School children in a classroom

The Government of Saint Lucia requested technical assistance to facilitate the review of the National Youth Policy, which was enacted in 2003.

Implementing Sierra Leone's Public Service Pay Strategy Workers group together and look at paperwork

The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance for the reform of public pay as part of the preliminary work for the establishment of a Wage Commission.

Strengthening Lesotho's Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences A ballot official holds up an empty ballot box pre-election

The Government of Lesotho requested technical assistance to strengthen the operational and policy framework of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to more effectively execute its mandate.

Supporting climate finance readiness and access in the Pacific and Caribbean Waves crash against the rocks

A two year project designed to support improved climate financing frameworks in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Institutional strengthening and capacity building of Belize's public sector Government building in Belize

The Government of Belize requested technical assistance for the comprehensive review of the job classification and compensation structure, policies, systems and practices.

Institutional strengthening of the Attorney General’s Office in the Bahamas Government House in Nassau, The Bahamas

The Government of the Bahamas requested technical assistance to strengthen the procedural rules and justice institutions of the Bahamas, to ensure improved access and swift justice administration and delivery.

Improving functional administration within Grenada's Cabinet Office Grenada flag

The Government of Grenada requested technical assistance to strengthen the institutional policy and administrative capacity within the Prime Minister's Office.

Strengthening local governance for national development in Sri Lanka Local people queue in the streets of Sri Lanka

The Commonwealth Secretariat is working in partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum to strengthen local governance for national development in Sri Lanka.

Supporting the legislative drafting needs of Jamaica's Ministry of Justice A group of magistrates

The Government of Jamaica requested technical assistance to enable the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to be better able to respond to the legislative drafting needs of Jamaica.

Supporting decentralisation in Sierra Leone Meeting of a group of people in Sierra Leone

The Government of Sierra Leone requested technical assistance to build the capacity of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development

Supporting national strategic development planning in Saint Lucia Bananas, growing in St Lucia

The Department of Economic Planning and National Development requested technical assistance to support an integrated approach to develop a National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Digitisation of the Vital Statistics Registry in Tonga Two woman use a camera to digitalise a physical records book

The purpose of the project was to safeguard the historical data and update record keeping practices of Tonga’s vital statistics.

Strengthening the capacity of the High Court of Lesotho Lesotho Parliament

This project aimed to strengthen the capacity of the High Court of Lesotho, through building its capacity in case management, judgement writing and judicial administration systems and procedures

Supporting the Attorney General's office in Kenya View of Nairobi, Kenya

This project's purpose is to strengthen the capacity of the Attorney General's Office and the Kenya Law Reform Commission to draft new constitutional legislation.

Institutional strengthening of Seychelles' Ministry of Finance Victoria, Seychelles

Seychelles' Ministry of Finance requested technical assistance to facilitate the process of Seychelles' accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), whilst building the institutional and technical capacity within the Trade Division.

Institutional strengthening of the Auditor General's Office in Botswana Gaberone, Botswana

Technical assistance was requested in order to strengthen the capacity of the Auditor General's Office and improve financial governance and service delivery

Strengthening the capacity of the justice system of Swaziland High Court, Swaziland

This project supported greater access to justice through the clearing of substantial case backlogs and has improved the quality and timeliness of court practice and administration.

Strengthening the capacity of the High Court of Kiribati Parliament, Kiribati

This project aims to strengthen the capacity of the High Court of Kiribati, including in the improving of the operational effectiveness of the court system.

Legislative drafting assistance to the Attorney General's Office in Seychelles "Books on legal writing" by Coolcaesar at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

This project's purpose was to strengthen the legislative drafting capacity of the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and to draft key legislation.

Strengthening health workforce planning in Saint Lucia New Hospital, Saint Lucia

This two-year project has aimed to support the development of a human resource workforce planning policy and to provide capacity building to the Ministry of Health.

Strengthening of legislative drafting offices in the Caribbean Caribbean sunset

This project is aimed at supporting the operations and improving the technical capacity of legislative drafting offices in Commonwealth Caribbean member countries, particularly small states.

Strengthening of Kenya's School of Monetary Studies Kenya School of Monetary Studies

The project delivered a more effective e-banking service to poor communities in Kenya as part of implementing Vision 2030.

Strengthening the capacity of the Judiciary in Seychelles Victoria, Seychelles

This project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Seychelles in order to improve the operational effectiveness of the judicial system.

Strengthening the institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu Vanuatu island

This project aims to strengthen institutional capacity of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu to reduce backlog of cases and improve administration of justice.

Sentencing policy assistance to the Attorney General's Office in Botswana Botswana Attorney General's Office

Assisting Botswana's Attorney General's Office in formulating a sentencing policy

Support for Mauritius’ participation in the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations Mauritius

Project to assess implications of joining Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.

Pacific policymakers equipped to tackle youth unemployment Policy makers group

Senior government officials in the Pacific are better equipped to develop youth job creation programmes following technical training from the Commonwealth Secretariat and partners.

Post-2015: Say Yes to Youth Goal Youths applauding

Join the campaign for a Youth Goal in the post-2015 development framework: #Yes2YouthGoal

Commonwealth Expert Team: Rwanda 2013 Legislative Election Rwanda

A Commonwealth Expert Team observed Rwanda’s 16-18 September 2013 Legislative Election.

Helping countries manage debt Image of a man in front of an ATM machine and a woman holding cash and a card at a bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For nearly 30 years The Commonwealth’s debt recording software has helped countries manage their debt and in turn develop their economies.

Bankers on bikes in Vanuatu Bankers on bikes

How do you encourage people to bank their money where no bank branches exist? The National Bank of Vanuatu with support from The Commonwealth had some ideas.

Observing Swaziland’s National Elections Image of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Swaziland 2013, from left to right: Commonwealth Secretariat's Koffi Sawyer and Linford Andrews; Alicia Swinamer, National Director of MYCommonwealth; Dr Bakili Muluzi; Sa-adatu Maida, Election Commissioner for Ghana; Dr Curtis Michael Jacobs, Head of Centre, The University of the West Indies Open Campus Grenada; and the Commonwealth Secretariat's Zippy Ojago

The Commonwealth observed Swaziland’s National Elections on 20 September, 2013.

Supporting countries to prepare for the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process Image of Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) examines the human rights records of 193 UN member states once every four and a half years. Each country reports on how it is implementing its human rights obligations under international human rights law and standards, and receives recommendations from other states in improving their compliance. Some countries face challenges in reporting under the Review due to limited financial and human resources to collate and analyse information.

Commonwealth supports The Bahamas in applying for seabed rights Image of hands pointing at maps

The Commonwealth Secretariat has assisted The Bahamas to claim over 200,000 sq km of additional continental shelf (seabed) through a submission to the United Nations in collaboration with officials in The Bahamas.

Building the resilience of small states to withstand shocks Image of a gardener working on the grounds of Solomon Islands National Parliament taking in the view of the capital. Copyright: Commonwealth Secretariat. Credit: Tom Perry.

The Commonwealth is strengthening a framework that supports small states to withstand economic shocks and natural disasters.

Pakistan’s historic General Elections, May 2013 Image of women walking in Islamabad, Pakistan. Copyright: Commonwealth Secretariat. Credit: Minelle Fernandez

Following an invitation from Pakistan’s Independent Electoral Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat sent a group of eminent persons to observe the country’s elections in May 2013.

Sierra Leone retains its record of peaceful democracy Man posting his vote

Following an invitation from Sierra Leone’s Independent Electoral Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat sent a group of eminent persons to observe the country’s elections in November 2012.

Protecting coastal habitats to mitigate against climate change in Vanuatu  Young people swimming and canoeing

The Commonwealth has been working with the Government of Vanuatu to assess how protecting coastal habitats can work towards climate change mitigation and adaptation - the first assessment of its kind in the South Pacific region.

Training prison officials on human rights in prison management Prisoners

Educating people about human rights, especially those in positions of authority, is fundamental to protecting and promoting them.

Developing an Eastern Caribbean ocean policy Image of Guyanese fishermen

The Commonwealth has been assisting the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat with the development and implementation of a regional ocean policy, the first of its kind in the Caribbean

Mauritius and Seychelles secure and manage joint seabed rights through continental shelf submission Image of scuba divers and fish

A number of small-island and developing member countries face serious obstacles to managing and securing the benefits that may be associated with the management of ocean space, including the development of potentially lucrative marine resources.

Commonwealth assists seven Pacific countries to settle maritime boundaries Image of beach

The Pacific islands region has approximately 48 shared boundaries where maritime entitlements overlap as a matter of international law.

Promoting and strengthening e-health in East and Southern Africa Image of office workers

Many Commonwealth countries are in need of innovative approaches for enhancing the provision of adequate healthcare to citizens. Geographic remoteness in particular, along with high levels of poverty among some of the membership’s most excluded and marginalised populations, is a major challenge for members that lack adequate resourcing and physical infrastructure to facilitate delivery.

Commonwealth Regulatory Network Image of people trading

In 2009, the Commonwealth Secretariat was tasked by Commonwealth finance ministers to find means of strengthening the linkages amongst financial sector regulators in Commonwealth countries.

Increasing Citizen Participation in Sierra Leone’s Governance People in street

“Transformation requires aggressive collaboration and cooperation of many individuals, so as citizens, we all share the duty to transform Sierra Leone. Through TSL, we will help ensure the public trust, and establish a system of accountability, engagement and collaboration.” Finance Minister, Dr Kaifala Marah

Raising the Quality of Education: Developing Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders Image of teacher and students

Although there has been progress in recent years in expanding education and training opportunities in the Commonwealth member states, quality education remains a common concern. The 16th, 17th and 18th Commonwealth Conferences of Education Ministers emphasised the need to provide quality training and development for teachers to meet education needs at all levels. Ensuring that the teaching profession operates at the highest possible standards lies a the heart of quality education.

Building the capacity of Ugandan organic exporters to access the UK market Image of Ugandan woman with organic products for export

The agriculture of Uganda is almost entirely organic, and the climate is conducive to growing a range of successful crops. The year-round equable, level warm-to-high temperatures and two rainy seasons make for ideal growing conditions for a wide range of crops. The organic market in the UK of $US 2.25 billion is large and ready to take more produce from Uganda. However, linkages between the production potential of the country with the organic market is not fully developed.

Strengthening debt management in Jamaica Jamaican flag

Prudent debt management practice in many Commonwealth countries remains a challenge. The reasons for this are multiple, and include: lack of adequate management information systems, lack of clear governance and institutional structures, and lack of capacity among staff.

Women’s land rights in Cameroon Image of women in Sierra Leone

The Commonwealth has produced handbooks on women's land rights in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. "The handbook has proved to be empowering and a trump card for women, elucidating for men, instructive for the traditional rulers, and thought-provoking for policy makers” – Judge Vera Ngassa, Cameroon.