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HM Queen Elizabeth II
CHOGM 2018
Rt Hon Patricia Scotland
Final Communique of the Media and Development Workshop, where Yocomm presented a best practice case study to the delegates.
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Antigua & Barbuda Antigua & Barbuda
Dominica Dominica
Malawi Malawi
Rwanda Rwanda
St Vincent & the Grenadines St Vincent & the Grenadines
Australia Australia
Fiji Islands Fiji Islands
Malaysia Malaysia
Saint Kitts & Nevis Saint Kitts & Nevis
Swaziland Swaziland
Bahamas Bahamas
Gambia Gambia
Malta Malta
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia
Tanzania Tanzania
Bangladesh Bangladesh
Ghana Ghana
Mauritius Mauritius
Samoa Samoa
Tonga Tonga
Barbados Barbados
Grenada Grenada
Mozambique Mozambique
Seychelles Seychelles
Trinidad & Tobago Trinidad & Tobago
Belize Belize
Guyana Guyana
Namibia Namibia
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
Tuvalu Tuvalu
Botswana Botswana
India India
Nauru Nauru
Singapore Singapore
Uganda Uganda
Brunei Brunei
Jamaica Jamaica
New Zealand New Zealand
Solomon Island Solomon Island
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Cameroon Cameroon
Kenya Kenya
Nigeria Nigeria
South Africa South Africa
Vanuatu Vanuatu
Canada Canada
Kiribati Kiribati
Pakistan Pakistan
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Zambia Zambia
Cyprus Cyprus
Lesotho Lesotho
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea

What's the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and sovereign states – take a look at the map to see which countries are members. With a population of 1.7 billion people, one third of the world's population is a Commonwealth citizen, living on all the world's continents. So the Commonwealth has many religions, races, cultures, languages and traditions. It's a richly diverse place!

Let's get a flavour of that diversity. Members include the world's largest territory – Canada – and one of the tiniest and most remote islands – Nauru in the Pacific. There's India – the largest democracy in the world – and Norfolk Island, the smallest. It includes one of the driest and most sparsely populated countries – Namibia – and one of the most liable to flooding – Bangladesh – and one with the greatest biodiversity – Guyana. It has some of the poorest in terms of their GDP – Mozambique and Tanzania – and some of the wealthiest – Australia and New Zealand. It has the oldest industrialised countries – Britain – and some of the fastest growing and industrialising – Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius. Some are monarchies – UK and Tonga – whilst others are republics and have a President – Ghana and Trinidad. All are at various stages of development from the highly industrialise to the predominantly agricultural – from the richest countries to the poorest. Almost two-thirds of Commonwealth countries are small states.


What's the point of it?

The Commonwealth is second only to the United Nations in size as an international organisation. However, the Commonwealth has no power as such. It does not have a legal basis or wrap itself up in constitutional obligations. It is based on a voluntary affinity and common principles rather than a formal charter. Because its members are from all continents and are at all stages of development, the Commonwealth has a unique strength in promoting peace, democracy, development and international understanding. It provides a bridge across many of the world's divides. Membership provides countries with a valuable network for cooperation – working together for development and solving problems and conflicts; constructively exploring their different ways of viewing the world. It is an association of dynamic and vibrant peoples who find that they are able to work together and share values, skills, experiences and ideas to achieve positive results for their societies for today and tomorrow.

Commonwealth countries have a very great deal in common – a shared history arising from the former British Empire, the English language, similar legal and administrative structures and education systems and common values and objectives. However, despite all that they have in common, it certainly isn't wealth in an economic sense. There are vast economic disparities and so development is an area Commonwealth countries have committed themselves to work together for positive results.

What does the Commonwealth stand for?

Above all the Commonwealth stands for the 3 Ds:

Commonwealth member governments are expected to accept and commit themselves to Commonwealth core values and principles. These were set out in the Singapore Declaration of 1971 and the Harare Declaration of 1991 and commit governments to: good governance, including a commitment to democracy and the rule of law; human rights, including the liberty of the individual and equal rights for all; protection of the environment through sustainable development; social justice and work against poverty, ignorance and disease by reducing inequalities of wealth in the world; the pursuit of world peace and support of the United Nations; international cooperation.


Governments, which are unable to live up to, these commitments, perhaps because of anti-democratic behaviour and military coups, can be – and have been – suspended from membership of the Commonwealth.


Do you know?

More than half the people of the Commonwealth are aged under 25, years and one person in five is between the ages of 15 and 25 years – defined as ‘youth'; the Commonwealth is a very young place
Many of the world's top athletes and record holders are Commonwealth young men and women
Millions of Commonwealth young people are linked internationally via membership of their youth organisations – the Scouts, Guides, YWCA, YMCA, Duke of Edinburgh's Award etc.

Young People - the Commonwealth's best resource


Throughout the Commonwealth, globalisation is having an enormous impact on young people. And increasingly young people know they need to be ‘world ready' so that they can meet the challenges and opportunities of this global age and environment. They have strong and constructive views about the development of their communities. They have the edge when it comes to forging new international networks for ideas and knowledge through information technology. They are concerned by global issues such as unfair global trade, environmental destruction and HIV/AIDS and keen to increase their understanding of interdependence. Increasingly they realise that the major issues affecting their lives cannot be explained or tackled within their own country alone. They know we have to think of ourselves as citizens, not only of our particular countries, but also of the world as a whole: global citizens. And to think about what kind of nations we want to be – and making another and better world possible.

The Commonwealth is seeking to rise to the challenge of young people's needs and aspirations and has developed some important initiatives that are youth focused. The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) works with national youth ministries to strengthen their national youth policies and enable young Commonwealth citizens to make an important contribution to their societies today. Its ‘Youth for the Future' is a Commonwealth networking initiative for youth programmes that promotes economic and social development. And the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC) works to promote youth mobility and cross-cultural interchange/ Additionally, all Commonwealth governments have pledged themselves to empower young people.

Contents Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council

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