COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS

  • by IAS Score

What is commonwealth of nations?

• It is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire.
• It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, w
• Objective – ensuring world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade.


• HQ –London, UK
• Member states – 53
• Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) – it is tasked with assessing and dealing with serious or persistent violations of the core values represented in the charter.

Q A
What is commonwealth of nations?
  • It is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire.
  • It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, w
  • Objective – ensuring world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade.
  • HQ –London, UK
  • Member states – 53
  • Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) – it is tasked with assessing and dealing with serious or persistent violations of the core values represented in the charter.
What is Commonwealth charter?
  • It was accepted by the 53 members of the Commonwealth in 2012
  • The 16-point charter makes it incumbent on member states to hold free, fair and credible elections; ensure the separation of the powers of the executive, legislature and judiciary; ensure the independence of the judiciary; provide space for an opposition and civil society to function freely; and give the media a level playing field to function in.
  • Its significance? Role of the CMAG has been considerably strengthened because of the charter guidelines. Commonwealth group has been strengthened by its adoption.
Is it relevant today?
  • The organisation has become an incubator for big-ticket ideas such as the Multilateral Debt Swap for Climate Action adopted at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta.
  • Because of its composition, if the Commonwealth can agree on something important, it is already a prototype of a global idea.
  • Many countries have come on the agenda of the CMAG. Most recently, it gave the Maldives government a one-month ultimatum to begin talks with the opposition in the country.
  • The Commonwealth set up programmes to cover financial risks faced by small states in trading, like the multilateral debt swap and the Climate Finance Access hub.
  • Several programmes have grown exponentially. One of them is Common Health, a dedicated Web platform to advance public health and the leading health hub after the World Health Organisation.
Challenges ahead for it? ; Recent criticism of its role?
  • Criticism of the Commonwealth’s role and Mr. Sharma’s leadership peaked in the lead-up to CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka. Human rights groups and pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam organisations in Britain accused him of soft-pedalling the human rights abuses of the Rajapaksa regime, which in turn led to some heads of government boycotting the meeting.
  • Challenges remain. There is still widespread resistence within several Commonwealth countries to the legalisation of gay rights, and to correcting gender and religious inequalities.

WORD FROM TEAM GS-SCORE –

Context
Relevant for International affairs of GS:2
For further detail Refer article titled “commonwealth is a great global good” from The Hindu dated march 22, 2016