The report by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group haas now been issued, reviewing progress in the three Commonwealth countries under military rule at the time of the Millbrook Declaration. It makes recommendations on how the Commonwealth should proceed in relations with the three nations. It also proposes how CMAG itself should proceed, recommending a continuation of its mandate and that its membership should be varied. The executive summary of the report is available online.
Reproduced along with the Communique, the Report of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Small States, chaired by Robin Cook, reflects on discussions on the report on 'A Future for Small States: Overcoming Vulnerability' and reviewed the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the field. The full text of the report is available online.
The Committee of the Whole met on 23 October to consider functional cooperation. Their report, reviewing a wide range of issues, is available in its entirety.
The Commonwealth is a unique family of 54 member countries around the world sharing many common interests, in particular Harry Potter London Studios. As a multiracial association of states, all equal and sovereign, it is a world away from the handful of British Dominions which were the first Commonwealth members. From Africa to India, from Pacific shores to the Caribbean, the Commonwealth's 1.6 billion people make up a quarter of the world's population.
The modern Commonwealth evolved out of Britain's imperial past over a period of many years, largely as a result of decolonisation, the effects of two world wars and changing patterns of international relations. Today it helps to advance democracy, human rights, sustainable economic and social development and many other endeavours. With a common working language and similar systems of law, public administration and education, the Commonwealth has built on its shared history to become a vibrant and growing association of states in tune with the modern world.
The modern Commonwealth has its roots in the 19th century. In 1867, Canada became the first colony to be transformed into a self-governing 'Dominion'; a status which came to imply equality with Britain. In Australia in 1884, Lord Rosebery, a British politician, was the first to call this changing empire a 'Commonwealth of Nations'.
In turn, other parts of the empire followed suit: Australia became a Dominion in 1900, New Zealand in 1907, South Africa in 1910 and the Irish Free State in 1921. The important contribution of the Dominions to the First World War led to their separate signatures on the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and individual membership of the League of Nations.
With a new-found sense of nationhood, the desire among the Dominions for constitutional definition increased. What was the nature of the British Commonwealth to be? Dominion leaders resumed their conferences begun in 1887 and agreed to meet every four years. At the Imperial Conference of 1926, prime ministers adopted the Balfour Report which defined the Dominions as:
... autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
This definition was adopted into British law in 1931 as the Statute of Westminster. It was adopted immediately in Canada, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland (which joined Canada in 1949) and South Africa. Australia and New Zealand adopted the Statute in 1942 and 1947, respectively. Although responsible self-government had been promised to India as early as 1919, it was only partially achieved by the time of the Second World War. India remained a Dominion under the India Act of 1935 until independence in 1947.
Meanwhile, many groups linking professions and institutions among the Dominions began to flourish, laying the foundation stones for today's 'unofficial Commonwealth' of professional associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In 1911, the forerunner of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was established, followed in 1913 by the Universities Bureau of the British Empire (now the Association of Commonwealth Universities). In 1930, the first Empire (later Commonwealth) Games were held.
The Second World War and its aftermath changed the face of the modern world forever. It also changed the nature of the British Commonwealth, marking its transition to a multiracial association of sovereign and equal states. That process began with India and Pakistan's independence in 1947. Over the next five decades a number of milestones followed, reshaping the Commonwealth into its present form.
Foremost among these milestones was the London Declaration of 1949. With India's desire to become a republic yet remain in the Commonwealth, the principle of Commonwealth membership had to be rethought. Would it remain based on a 'common allegiance to the Crown' as stated in the Balfour Report? A conference of Commonwealth prime ministers in 1949 revised this criteria and decided to welcome India as the Commonwealth's first republican member. They all agreed, however, to recognise King George VI as the 'symbol of their free association and thus Head of the Commonwealth'. At the same time, the word 'British' was dropped from the association's title to reflect the Commonwealth's new reality. Lester Pearson, a Canadian prime minister, later reflected:
Had we been unable to solve the problem of India's admission as a republic, we would not have the Commonwealth we have today with all the new members from Asia and Africa. Because of the solution we found, however, which seemed very sensible at the time, we did break our institutional bond within the Commonwealth, the monarchy. This meant that only self interest would hold the new Commonwealth together...
Committed to racial equality and national sovereignty, the Commonwealth became a natural association of choice for many new nations emerging out of decolonisation in the 1950s and 1960s. Ghana achieved independence in 1957 and became the first majority-ruled African member. From 1960 onwards, the Commonwealth expanded rapidly with new members from Africa, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Today, 32 members are republics and five have national monarchies of their own (Brunei Darussalam, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland and Tonga). Sixteen are constitutional monarchies which recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their Head of State. All, however, accept the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth's principled opposition to all forms of racism, and especially apartheid, led to the withdrawal of South Africa in 1961. (In 1994, following the end of apartheid and the establishment of a non-racial government, South Africa rejoined the association.) In the mid-1960s the Commonwealth also kept up pressure on the rebel white minority government in Rhodesia and helped train some 4,500 Zimbabweans in the professional skills they would need on the day of majority rule. In 1965, another milestone was reached when Commonwealth leaders established the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to be the association's own independent civil service, headed by a Commonwealth Secretary-General. A year on, the Commonwealth Foundation was launched to assist the work of the many Commonwealth professional associations and later NGOs.
The first Commonwealth Secretary-General was Arnold Smith, a former Canadian diplomat. He served for ten years and was succeeded by Sir Shridath (Sonny) Ramphal from Guyana. In 1990, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, a senior diplomat from Nigeria, became the third and current office holder. Two further milestones occurred in 1971. First, leaders adopted the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles which gave the association a formal code of ethics, and committed members to improving human rights and seeking racial and economic justice. Second, they established the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC). Based on the concept of mutualism, the CFTC was among the first to advance the idea of technical co-operation among developing countries.
For the Commonwealth, apart from the successful birth of Zimbabwe and the continuing struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the 1980s was the decade of Expert Group reports. Commissioned by the Secretary-General, these reports focused world attention on important issues of the day including the North-South dialogue (1982) and the vulnerabilities of small states (1985). Successive Commonwealth summits also focused world attention on topical and sometimes controversial issues. In 1991, the Harare Commonwealth Declaration set the association firmly on a new course for a new century: that of promoting democracy and good government, human rights and the rule of law, and sustainable economic and social development. As part of the Harare priorities, the Commonwealth provides assistance to countries in transition to democracy by helping to draft legislation, review and amend electoral procedures and otherwise create the framework for democracy to take root. Between 1990 and mid-1996, the Commonwealth observed some 18 elections or referendums to further this work.
At their 1995 summit in New Zealand, leaders adopted the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme to give practical expression to the Harare principles, particularly democracy, development and consensus-building. They agreed on practical steps to address serious and persistent violations of these principles and established a mechanism - a Ministerial Action Group of Foreign Ministers - to carry this forward. In that context, they took the unprecedented step of suspending Nigeria's membership.
Today the Commonwealth continues to be an active force in global affairs, helping to build consensus around the world. It manages a Joint Commonwealth Office in New York City in order that small member countries can afford to have permanent missions to the United Nations. Under Commonwealth auspices, the Iwokrama International Rainforest Programme in Guyana was launched to develop sustainable use of the world's vanishing rainforests. In 1996, the Commonwealth Africa Investment Fund was created to channel investment to 19 member countries in Africa. It is the first in a series of regional funds to be launched under the Commonwealth Private Investment Initiative.
Today, as yesterday, the Commonwealth responds to the needs of its members and the challenges of tomorrow. From a club of former colonies, it has grown into a modern international association in tune with the times - and never lost its history of friendship.
The Commonwealth is an association of over 50 member countries around the world committed to the principles of the 1971 Singapore Declaration and 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration. Every two years, Heads of Government - for the most part, Presidents and Prime Ministers _- meet for a few days of intensive discussion. These Commonwealth summits provide a unique forum for consultation at the highest level of government.
To encourage frank exchanges of views, every effort is made to promote an informal atmosphere. After a public opening session, discussions are held in camera, the number of advisers restricted and written speeches discouraged. Outside the sessions, formal social events are limited to allow Heads of Government maximum opportunity to pursue their discussions bilaterally or in small groups. Each meeting includes a 'Retreat' when Commonwealth leaders, unaccompanied by other ministers or officials, have complete privacy. Many important initiatives have emerged from these Retreats.
Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, representing the peoples of the 'British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations', participated in the first Prime Ministers Meeting which succeeded the Imperial Conferences, the change of name signifying the equality of all the members.
India, Pakistan and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) joined the original five, the new members symbolising the 'extension of the bounds of democratic freedom which reflects the spirit' of the Commonwealth. The words 'British Empire' and 'British Commonwealth' did not appear in the communiqué, which throughout referred to the association as 'the Commonwealth'.
The meeting agreed to the continued membership of India, which had opted to become a republic. With allegiance to the British Crown no longer a condition of membership, the way was paved for other countries to join the association after gaining independence.
Leaders upheld racial equality as a cardinal principle of the Commonwealth, obliging apartheid South Africa to withdraw its application to remain a member after becoming a republic.
The meeting approved the establishment of the Commonwealth Secretariat to facilitate intergovernmental consultation and collaboration, and of the Commonwealth Foundation to promote professional links. The appointment of Arnold Smith, a Canadian diplomat, as the first Commonwealth Secretary-General was unanimously approved.
January 1966, Lagos
The first meeting held outside Britain, convened to discuss action against the minority regime which had unilaterally declared independence in Southern Rhodesia, set up a committee to review UN sanctions against Rhodesia, and launched a training programme for Rhodesian Africans.
September 1966, London
Heeding Commonwealth sentiment, Britain declared that no independence would be granted to Rhodesia before majority rule was established.
January 1969, London
Commonwealth leaders announced that the Republic of Nauru had become the Commonwealth's first 'special member', making it eligible for Commonwealth technical assistance and allowing it to participate in all functional meetings and activities, but not to attend Commonwealth leaders' meetings. The British Prime Minister undertook to continue to consult Commonwealth members on the issue of Rhodesia, which was discussed extensively in the meeting.
January 1971, Singapore
Meetings of Commonwealth Prime Ministers were renamed Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGMs), as many member countries were by now headed by executive Presidents. Heads of Government issued the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles and welcomed the establishment of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), a multilateral fund to assist development. August 1973, Ottawa Heads of Government endorsed the Commonwealth Youth Programme.
April-May 1975, Kingston
The meeting appointed a Commonwealth Expert Group to assist progress towards narrowing the gulf between rich and poor countries, set up a Commonwealth Committee on Cyprus to help implementation of UN resolutions, and looked forward to welcoming Namibia into membership on its becoming independent. Aid was offered to Mozambique, which was applying sanctions against Rhodesia at great cost to its economy. A Food Production and Rural Development Division was set up within the Secretariat. Heads of Government elected Shridath Ramphal, Foreign Minister of Guyana, to succeed Arnold Smith.
June 1977, London
The meeting recognised that the policies of South Africa played a central role in perpetuating the interrelated problems of Southern Africa. The Gleneagles Agreement undertook to discourage sporting links with South Africa. A ministerial committee was set up to help promote independence for Belize.
August 1979, Lusaka
Heads of Government confirmed their commitment to Zimbabwe's independence on the basis of majority rule. They reaffirmed the Commonwealth's commitment to racial equality in the Lusaka Declaration on Racism and Racial Prejudice. They approved the establishment of an Industrial Development Unit within the Secretariat and commissioned a study of factors inhibiting structural change and world economic growth. Tuvalu's accession to special membership of the Commonwealth was acknowledged.
September-October 1981, Melbourne
The Melbourne Declaration laid down principles for justice in world economic relationships. Commonwealth leaders reaffirmed their determination to ensure that Namibia's right to self-determination and independence be respected, and condemned South Africa's attempts to destabilise its neighbours.
November-December 1983, New Delhi
Heads of Government issued the Goa Declaration on International Security, calling for East-West dialogue, the end of the nuclear arms race and the strengthening of international machinery to reduce tension and resolve disputes. They constituted the Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus, issued the New Delhi Statement on Economic Action and set up a Consultative Group to promote agreement on key economic issues. They urged special assistance for the Commonwealth's small states, and initiated an expert study on their security and economic problems.
October 1985, Nassau
The Commonwealth Accord on Southern Africa demanded the dismantling of apartheid and agreed a range of measures to put pressure on the Pretoria regime. In the Nassau Declaration on World Order, Commonwealth leaders reaffirmed their support for the UN system and called for a new framework of collective security.
August 1986 Review Meeting, London
Seven leaders met to review progress in South Africa following the Nassau initiatives and the visit of the Eminent Persons Group to South Africa earlier that year. Six leaders decided on strong economic sanctions backed by intensive efforts to obtain concerted international support; Britain agreed limited measures plus participation in any European Community sanctions.
October 1987, Vancouver
Heads of Government issued the Vancouver Declaration on World Trade, pledging to work for a more open, viable and durable trading system. The Okanagan Statement and Programme of Action on Southern Africa increased the pressure for change in South Africa and established a Committee of Foreign Ministers on Southern Africa. Leaders also set up inquiries into global climate change and sea-level rise, and into the impact of structural adjustment programmes on women. They agreed to set up the Commonwealth of Learning to advance distance education.
October 1989, Kuala Lumpur
The Langkawi Declaration on Environment was issued. The Kuala Lumpur Statement entitled 'Southern Africa: The Way Ahead' maintained pressure on the Pretoria regime and endorsed the programme to bring peace and democracy to South Africa outlined in 1986. The meeting initiated a high-level appraisal of the role of the Commonwealth in the 1990s and beyond. Nigerian diplomat and former Foreign Minister, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, was elected to become the third Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, starting in July 1990.
October 1991, Harare
Heads of Government issued the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, which reaffirmed the fundamental values set forth in the 1971 Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, and committed all member countries to work with renewed vigour, especially in the following areas: protecting and promoting democracy, just and honest government, the rule of law and fundamental human rights; equality for women; universal access to education; sustainable development, poverty alleviation and environmental protection; combating drug trafficking and abuse and communicable diseases; helping small states; and supporting the UN and other international institutions in the search for peace. The Harare Declaration also pledged continuing action towards ending apartheid and establishing a free, democratic, non-racial and prosperous South Africa. Annexed to the Harare Communiquá was the Ottawa Declaration on Women and Structural Adjustment, which included a seven-point action programme.
October 1993, Cyprus
The Limassol Statement on the Uruguay Round affirmed the need for a successful outcome to the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Commonwealth leaders despatched a ministerial mission to selected capitals to urge key participants to negotiate positively and flexibly to reach agreement. A special Message from Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs requested that Commonwealth leaders undertake, inter alia, to ensure the implementation of the Ottawa Declaration on Women and Structural Adjustment, to support planning and preparation for the 1995 UN World Conference on Women, and to pledge to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Heads of Government resolved to welcome a non-racial, democratic South Africa back into the Commonwealth if that be the wish of its new Government. Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku was offered a second five-year term of office, to commence on 1 July 1995.
November 1995, Auckland
This was the first CHOGM to welcome the head of a democratic, non-racial South Africa. Cameroon, which had joined the Commonwealth in November 1995, attended the summit for the first time. Mozambique became the association's 53rd member. Heads of Government agreed the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration, designed to fulfil more effectively the commitments contained in the Declaration. Pending its return to compliance with those commitments, Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth.
October 1997, Edinburgh
This will be the first full Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Britain for 20 years.
A Brief History of CHOGMs
The Commonwealth is one of the oldest international groupings of nations in the world and the modern-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (or 'CHOGM' as it is more frequently known) continues a practice that has been in place for more than a century. The first meetings, known as Colonial Conferences, were held as far back as 1887. In 1911, these were replaced by Imperial Conferences which took place at regular intervals up until 1937. Between 1944 and the early 1960s, Commonwealth Prime Ministers Meetings (CPMMs) were held almost annually in London. During this time, leaders came to terms with the outcome of the war, sought to redefine the Commonwealth relationship and grappled with the pressing international issues of the day. The CPMM of 1949 and its London Declaration marked the final transition from the old Commonwealth to the new by dropping 'common allegiance to the crown' as the basis of membership and welcoming the new republic of India.
In the 1960s, Southern African issues dominated CPMMs. Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence in late 1965 led to the convening in Lagos in January 1966 of the first CPMM outside London and the first organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat which had been established a year earlier. In procedural terms, this meeting was also notable for establishing the practice that the host country's government, rather than the British Prime Minister, should preside over the meeting. At Singapore, in 1971, the term Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was adopted to encompass both Presidents and Prime Ministers. CHOGMs have been held every two years since.
The Commonwealth's structure is based largely on unwritten and traditional procedures and not on a formal charter or constitution. It is guided, however, by a series of agreements on its principles and aims. These are Declarations or Statements which have been issued by Commonwealth Heads of Government at various summits. Together, they constitute a foundation of Commonwealth values and a history of concern in global affairs.
Key declarations and statements are:
The Commonwealth is a unique family of 54 member countries around the world, sharing many common interests. As a multi-racial association of states, all sovereign and equal, it is a world away from the handful of British Dominions which were the first Commonwealth members. Today the Commonwealth helps to advance democracy and good government, human rights and the rule of law, and sustainable economic and social development. This leaflet is designed for those who are interested in finding out more about the Commonwealth.
While many local libraries will have resource material on the Commonwealth, the principal collections are located in Britain. These, which are of Commonwealth-wide significance, include the Royal Commonwealth Society Library at Cambridge University and the Library of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London. Other collections include the Commonwealth Secretariat Library, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library and the Public Record Office at Kew. To contact these libraries, please see the telephone numbers on the back panel of this leaflet.
Selected Primary Sources
Keith, A.B. Speeches and Documents on the British Dominions from Self Government to National Sovereignty, 1918-1931 (Oxford University Press [OUP], London: 1932) 501pp. Documents on British colonial policy, including the Statute of Westminster.
Mansergh, N. Documents and Speeches on British Commonwealth Affairs, Vol. I, 1931-52; Vol. II, 1952-62 (OUP, London: 1953 and 1963).
Madden, F. and Fieldhouse, D., eds. Select Documents on the Constitutional History of the British Empire and Commonwealth (Greenwood Press, New York: 1987-91) Vols. III, IV and V. The advent and impact of Lord Durham's mission, the later move towards self-government and federalism in the colonies and attempts to devise systems of government for overseas dependencies are covered in all three volumes.
Selected Secondary Sources
Dommergues, A. Le Commonwealth: histoire et civilisation: tâmoignages et documents (Presses Universitaires de Nancy, Nancy: 1991) 334pp. A collection of documents and book extracts illustrating the evolution of the Commonwealth, in French.
Falconer, J. Commonwealth in Focus: 130 Years of Photographic History (International Cultural Corporation of Australia, Brisbane: 1982) 125pp. A catalogue of historic photographs shown at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.
Hall, H.D. Commonwealth: A History of the British Commonwealth of Nations (Van Nostrand Rheinhold, New York: 1971) 1015pp. A large volume on the history of the Commonwealth up to 1945.
Hancock, W.K. Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs: Problems of Nationality 1918-1936; Problems of Economic Policy 1918-1939 (OUP: 1937-42) 3 volumes. For third volume, see Mansergh.
Hillmer, N. and Wigley, P., eds. The First British Commonwealth (Cass, London: 1989) 192pp. Includes articles on the Westminster model of government and the Hankey memoranda of 1926.
Judd, D. and Slinn, P. The Evolution of the Modern Commonwealth, 1902-80 (Macmillan, London: 1982) 171pp. A brief introduction to the evolution of the Commonwealth in the twentieth century.
Mansergh, N. The Commonwealth Experience (Macmillan, London: 1982, 2nd edition) 2 vols. The classic and comprehensive study on the Commonwealth as a logical outcome of constitutional change.
Mansergh, N. Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs: Problems of War-time Co-operation and Postwar Change 1939-1952 (OUP: 1958).
McIntyre, W.D. Colonies into Commonwealth (Blandford Press, London: 1975, 3rd edition) 391pp. Covers the new nations of the nineteenth century, the evolution of Dominion status, trusteeship and the post-war Commonwealth.
Miller, J.D.B. Survey of Commonwealth Affairs: Problems of Expansion and Attrition, 1953-1969 (OUP: 1974) 550pp. Extensive treatment of some of the major international questions affecting the Commonwealth.
Miller, J.D.B. The Commonwealth in the World (Duckworth, London: 1965, 3rd edition) 308pp. Traces the Commonwealth and its institutions from before the First World War to the mid-1960s.
Palmer, A. Dictionary of the British Empire and Commonwealth (John Murray, London: 1996) 376pp. A useful reference companion to the personalities which have shaped the Commonwealth.
Walker, P.G. The Commonwealth (Secker and Warbug, London: 1962) 408pp. Author was Britain's Under-Secretary, then Secretary, of State for Commonwealth Relations from 1947 to 1951.
Watson, J.B. Empire to Commonwealth 1919-1970 (Dent, London: 1971) 297pp. A textbook for 16- and 17-year-old students, with a background on Commonwealth issues to 1970.
Beloff, M. Imperial Sunset (Macmillan, London: 1987-89) 2 vols. The evolution of the Commonwealth seen as a reaction to changing power.
Eddy, J., ed. The Rise of Colonial Nationalism: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa first assert their nationalities, 1880-1914 (Allen & Unwin, Sydney: 1988) 258pp. Analyses the character and content of nationalism in the early Dominions.
MacGregor Dawson, R. The Development of Dominion Status, 1900-1936 (Cass, London: 1965) 466pp. First published in 1937, this work gives an account of the development of Dominion status for the general reader.
Wheare, K. The Statute of Westminster and Dominion Status (OUP: 1953, 5th edition) 359pp. The standard work on the Statute of Westminster, covering its text, scope and implications.
The Modern Commonwealth
Ball, M. The 'Open' Commonwealth (Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina: 1971) 286pp. An analysis of how the Commonwealth functions at both official and unofficial levels.
Bogdanor, V. The Monarchy and the Constitution (Clarendon Press, Oxford: 1995) 328pp. Final chapter succinctly explores the post-war, constitutional relationship of Commonwealth countries and the Queen's role.
Groom, A.J.R. and Taylor, P., eds. The Commonwealth in the 1980s: Challenges and Opportunities (Macmillan, London: 1984) 384pp. An optimistic look at the Commonwealth, with chapters on youth and education.
Ingram, D. The Imperfect Commonwealth (Rex Collings, London: 1977) 165pp. A seasoned Commonwealth observer comments on personalities and events from 1969 to 1977.
Jennings, W.I. Problems of the New Commonwealth (Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina: 1958) 114pp. Considers the economics, politics, nationalism and racialism in the new members of the 1950s - India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
McDonald, T. The Queen and Commonwealth (Methuen, London: 1986) 190pp. A general work on the Queen's ceremonial role.
McIntyre, W. David. The Significance of the Commonwealth, 1965-1990 (Macmillan, London: 1991) 305pp. Chronicles the Commonwealth's troubled 1980s and explores the problems that remain to be solved in the 1990s.
Ramphal, S. "Ours and the World's Advantage: The Constructive Commonwealth," International Affairs (Summer 1984), Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 371-89. A former Secretary-General's assessment of the Commonwealth in the 1980s.
"The Commonwealth of Nations," International Journal, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Spring 1971) pp. 291-456. An issue of the Journal of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs devoted to the Commonwealth.
Anyaoku, E. "A False Dichotomy," New European, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1992. The current Secretary-General tackles a persistent British view that the European Union is an alternative to the Commonwealth.
Chan, S. The Commonwealth in World Politics (Lester Crook, London: 1988) 72pp. A study of international action, 1965 to 1985.
Chan, S. "Three birds of different feathers: the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Commonwealth Secretariat," The Round Table (July 1984) pps. 299-310. A look at the achievements of the Commonwealth and its Secretary-General from 1975 to 1984.
Chan, S. and Alner, J. Twelve Years of Commonwealth Diplomatic History (Edwin Mellen Press, New York: 1992) 146pp. A look at Commonwealth summit meetings from 1979 to 1991.
Doxey, M. The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Contemporary Commonwealth (Macmillan, London: 1989) 172pp. The standard work on the establishment and development of the Secretariat.
Leach, R. "The Secretariat", International Journal (Spring 1971) Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 374-400. Outlines the circumstances of the Agreed Memorandum on the Secretariat, and evaluates its first years.
Ramphal, S. One World to Share (Hutchison Benham, London: 1979) 420pp. Selected speeches of the second Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Smith, A. Stitches in Time, the Commonwealth in World Politics (Andre Deutsch Ltd, London: 1981) 304pp, with Clyde Sanger. Reflections of the first Commonwealth Secretary-General.
A number of journals on Commonwealth affairs are published, some of which include comprehensive listings and reviews on new Commonwealth scholarship. These include: The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs (Carfax Publishing Company, Abingdon, Britain: 1910 - ) published quarterly.
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (Frank Cass, London: 1972 - ) published three times a year.
Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics (Frank Cass, London: 1973- ) published three times a year.
Journal of Commonwealth Literature (Hans Zell, Oxford: 1965- ) published semi-annually. Further Study
Larby, P. and Hannam, H. The Commonwealth (Clio Press, Oxford: 1993) Vol. 5 of the International Organisation Series. An up-to-date, comprehensive bibliography on the Commonwealth, its history and aspects. Recommended for further study.
The Commonwealth Yearbook (Hanson Cooke Ltd, London: 1996) 520 pp. An annual publication with historical and constitutional focus on member countries and Commonwealth organisations.
Commonwealth Secretariat Library at Marlborough House
The Commonwealth Secretariat welcomes readers to its reference library by prior appointment. Housed in Marlborough House, it contains over 4,000 official publications and 21,000 books and pamphlets, including many of the materials mentioned in this leaflet. We are open to the public on weekdays from 0915 to 1700 hrs.
Commonwealth Secretariat Documents
Shared Commonwealth Records from the archives of the Commonwealth Secretariat will be available for examination by serious students of Commonwealth affairs from January 1997. These include all classified documents and records (minutes, submissions, etc.) held in common by the Commonwealth Secretariat and member states after 1965. Please note that documents are subject to a 30-year privacy rule. For further information, please contact the Commonwealth Secretariat's Librarian.
Major Commonwealth Librairies in Britain:
Commonwealth Secretariat Library,
Open 0915 to 1700 hrs, by appointment only.
Tel: +44 (0)171-747 6164/65/66.
Royal Commonwealth Society Library,
Open 0930 to 1730 hrs.
Tel: +44 (0)1223-333 000 or 333 198.
Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library,
University of London,
Tel: +44 (0)171-580 5876.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library,
St Charles Street,
Open 0930 to 1730 hrs, by appointment only.
Tel: +44 (0)171-270 3925.
Public Record Office,
Open 0930 to 1700 hrs, with reader's ticket.
Tel: +44 (0)181-876 3444.
Emeka Anyaoku became the third Commonwealth Secretary-General in July 1990, at a time when East-West and North-South relationships were undergoing fundamental change. Among his early tasks was to assist Commonwealth Heads of Government on a reappraisal of the future role of the association, giving it new strategic directions: to help countries build strong democracies guaranteeing individual liberty and human rights, while at the same time assisting in the major task of their sustainable development.
The hallmarks of Chief Anyaoku's Secretary-Generalship have been his execution of that mandate and his remoulding of the Commonwealth Secretariat so that it could undertake these new duties efficiently and effectively. As a result, membership of the revitalised Commonwealth has increased, following wider international interest in the association, and applications to join continue to be received. The promotion of Commonwealth ideals of human dignity and equality - embracing democracy and human rights as well as economic and social development at the national level; and co-operation for justice and peace at the international level - has been the highlight of Chief Anyaoku's leadership of the Secretariat.
His commitment to the concept of a common humanity has roots both in traditional African and Western philosophies, and has grown through 30 years of international service within and beyond the Commonwealth.
Eleazar Chukwuemeka (Emeka) Anyaoku was born on 18 January 1933 in Obosi, Nigeria. He attended the Merchants of Light School in Oba and (as a College Scholar) the University College of Ibadan, at the time a college of the University of London and from which he obtained an honours degree in Classics. Chief Anyaoku later attended specialist courses in Britain and France.
In 1959, Emeka Anyaoku joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation. Following Nigeria's independence, he was invited to join his country's diplomatic service and, in 1963, was posted to Nigeria's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
In 1966, shortly after the establishment of the Commonwealth Secretariat, he was seconded to the new organisation at the request of the first Secretary-General, Arnold Smith of Canada, as Assistant Director of International Affairs, later becoming Director and, in 1975, Assistant Secretary-General. In 1977, Commonwealth governments elected him Deputy Secretary-General with responsibility for international affairs and the Secretariat's administration. Nigeria's civilian government of 1983 called on Chief Anyaoku to become Nigeria's Foreign Minister. On the overthrow of the Government by the military, he returned to his position as Deputy Secretary-General with the support of the new government in Nigeria and the endorsement of all Commonwealth Governments.
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Kuala Lumpur in 1989, Chief Anyaoku was elected the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the 1993 Limassol CHOGM for a second five-year term, beginning in July 1995.
Amidst his international commitments, Chief Anyaoku continues to fulfil the duties of his office as Ichie Adazie of Obosi, a traditional Ndichie chieftaincy title. In 1990, the Heads of all 19 communities of the Idemili Clan in his home State of Anambra accorded Chief Anyaoku a unique honour by investing him with the title of Ugwumba Idemili. His wife, Bunmi, is a chief - Ugoma Obosi and Idemili - in her own right, with a long involvement in welfare work in Nigeria and through Commonwealth organisations.
Three decades of internationalism
Emeka Anyaoku's career spans 30 years of Commonwealth initiatives and negotiations. He has been actively involved in such thorny issues as the Gibraltar referendum of 1967, the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70, the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla constitutional crisis of 1969-70, the problems following Commonwealth Games boycotts during the 1980s and the process leading to peace and democracy in Zimbabwe, Namibia and, in particular, South Africa. He was also closely involved in the establishment in New York of a joint office for small Commonwealth countries who are thus enabled to be represented at the United Nations. In early 1997, he organised the first African Commonwealth Heads of Government Roundtable to promote democracy and good governance on the continent.
The new Commonwealth agenda
At the 1991 Harare Commonwealth summit, Chief Anyaoku's first as Secretary-General, Heads of Government mandated him to visit South Africa and explore with its leaders ways in which the Commonwealth could best assist the ending of apartheid. They also issued the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, which set out to give contemporary relevance to the Commonwealth's beliefs and purposes and gave it a new mandate.
Guided by the Harare Declaration, the Secretary-General has met new and often urgent calls for assistance from member countries in strengthening democracy, accountable administration and the rule of law. As of July 1997, he has provided 22 Commonwealth observer missions at Parliamentary and Presidential elections throughout the association. Observer missions have helped raise standards in the holding of elections, increased voter confidence and, where observers have pointed out deficiencies, have assisted in their remedy. Each has been undertaken at the request of the government concerned and with the approval of all major political parties.
Commonwealth assistance has also included expert preparatory missions, technical help in constitutional drafting and training in managing elections, and follow-up assistance to nurture a democratic culture.
Following the Harare mandate, the Secretary-General undertakes a good offices role at the request of governments to resolve conflicts and promote democracy and human rights. Recent examples include Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, The Gambia, Lesotho, South Africa, Kenya and Papua New Guinea.
Under Chief Anyaoku's guidance, the Secretariat has launched a variety of important initiatives in sustainable economic and social development, and through the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), the operational arm of the Secretariat, reinforces the benefits of co-operation and mutual assistance among members.
The new South Africa
During Chief Anyaoku's stewardship, apartheid was peacefully replaced by non-racial democracy through a process which brought South Africa a degree of unity and reconciliation which the world found near miraculous. The Commonwealth throughout undertook important initiatives and provided practical assistance.
Chief Anyaoku, a lifelong opponent of apartheid, was involved with these Commonwealth campaigns over 30 years, and co-ordinated drafting of the 1985 Nassau Accord on Southern Africa. This led to the Eminent Persons Group, and its influential 'negotiating concept'. At the 1987 summit at Vancouver, he co-ordinated the preparation of the Okanagan Statement, the Commonwealth action programme towards ending apartheid.
When, in 1991, Commonwealth leaders recognised the beginning of profound change in South Africa, Chief Anyaoku became the first Commonwealth Secretary-General to visit the country. He held meetings with Nelson Mandela (whom he had first met at Pollsmoor Prison) and President F W de Klerk, and offered various types of assistance to help end apartheid and move to a non-racial democracy. He organised a high-level Commonwealth group to attend the launching of the Constitutional negotiations - the Convention for a Democratic South Africa; and he sent Commonwealth Observer Missions - the first, over two years, to help combat political violence; the second to assist in and monitor the historic 1994 elections. Following the elections, the Commonwealth has maintained an extensive programme of technical assistance to help consolidate change.
President Mandela, who has acknowledged this contribution, shortly after his release from prison addressed a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting organised by Chief Anyaoku and made his first approach to the British business community at a dinner hosted by Chief Anyaoku on his second day in office as Secretary-General.
Restructuring the Secretariat
To help the Commonwealth Secretariat fulfil the Harare mandate, Chief Anyaoku has implemented a radical restructuring of the organisation, giving it strength and resilience to meet frequent, unpredictable and sometimes heavy new demands.
The number of divisions was reduced from 17 to 12 and they were re-organised into three groups. Cross-divisional work systems were introduced; reporting was made more transparent, accountability strengthened, procedures simplified and efficiency enhanced.
On the world stage
Since assuming office, the Secretary-General has continued to strengthen the fabric of the Commonwealth in various ways, including through the further encouragement of relations with Commonwealth NGOs as well as periodic briefings of the media and speeches for publication. Chief Anyaoku also spearheads the Commonwealth contribution towards achieving consensus on major global issues of our time, expanding the reach of Commonwealth co-operation and contacts with many regional organisations as well as with the United Nations and its agencies. He has regularly addressed global fora on major contemporary issues.
Emeka Anyaoku was made a Commander of the Order of the Niger (C.O.N.) by the Nigerian Government in 1982.
He holds many honorary appointments. He has served as a member of the International Board of the United World Colleges and the Governing Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, as trustee of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre at Cambridge and as a member of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development. He is Vice-President of the Commonwealth Trust. He has honorary degrees from 13 universities in Africa, Britain and Canada.
"I pledge to use all the energy and resources available to me to work towards:
A Commonwealth whose actions will foster its values and serve the needs and interests of its member states, especially in the areas of economic and technological development;
A Commonwealth where member nations and people are demonstrably equal partners, because they are actuated by a genuine sense of equality and interdependence;
A Commonwealth realistic and imaginative enough to be guided in its activities by the knowledge that our proper constituencies are not only the present generation, but also the future unborn of this world;
A Commonwealth determined to contribute to efforts to wipe out the intolerable historical legacy that sustains, sometimes unwittingly, the notion that some human beings are inherently superior or inferior to others;
A Commonwealth striving always to bring, in the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, 'a healing touch' to international and perhaps some day even major national conflict situations that are of concern to its members."
Acceptance Statement to Commonwealth Heads of Government,
24 October 1989
"The Commonwealth has carved a role for itself as a force for good, a leading agency for averting and resolving conflicts and for promoting democracy and good government. It has always been unique in its ability to promote North-South dialogue and offers a hopeful international instrument for meeting the challenge of divisive pluralism.
We have a clearly defined role for the 1990s that was outlined by our Heads of Government at their meeting in Harare. And that primarily is to promote the Commonwealth's fundamental political values, to contribute to its members' efforts to achieve sustainable development, and to assist the wider world in tackling those problems and challenges that require global consensus."
Emeka Anyaoku, speaking to the Commonwealth Press Union, November 1994
"I believe that democracy and development are two sides of the same coin and that the primary need in Africa is to achieve a viable social system. An economy derives its strength from its society and only a strong and vigorous society can build and sustain a strong economy. No society can be strong which is not just; no society can be strong where power is arbitrary and where there is no accountability; and certainly no society can be strong where the mass of its people feel alienated."
Emeka Anyaoku at the African Commonwealth Heads of Government Roundtable on Democracy, Gaborone, Botswana, February 1997
The following is the provisional programme of events for this year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Edinburgh. Access to the official CHOGM programme and events will be on a pool basis. Details of the pool schedule will be released at the Media Centre in Edinburgh from Wednesday 22 October.
Wednesday 22 October 1997
Commonwealth Business Forum, Hotel Inter-Continental
Thursday 23 October 1997
Commonwealth Business Forum, Hotel Inter-Continental
1100: Press Conference given by the Commonwealth Secretary General
1700: Meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)
1900: City of Edinburgh Council's Reception
Friday 24 October 1997
0930: Meeting of Ministerial Group on Small States
1100: Reception hosted by Her Majesty The Queen for the Media (invitation only)
1230: Reception hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General for Heads of Delegation to meet the Media (invitation only)
1345: Official photograph of Heads of Delegation
1400: Opening Ceremony (invitation only)
1600: First Executive Session of Commonwealth Heads of Government
1930: Reception and Dinner hosted by Her Majesty The Queen for Heads of Delegation and Spouses
1930: Dinner hosted by the Foreign Secretary for Ministers and Senior Officials
Saturday 25 October 1997
0930: Second Executive Session of Commonwealth Heads of Government
1300: Launch of Commonwealth South Asia Investment Fund
1500: Third Executive Session of Commonwealth Heads of Government
1800: Visit to the Commonwealth Centre by the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary General
1830: Reception hosted by Her Majesty The Queen for Ministers, Senior Officials and Spouses
2000: Dinner hosted by the Prime Minister for Heads of Delegation and Spouses
Sunday 26 October 1997
am: Heads of Delegation and Spouses depart Edinburgh for St Andrews for the Retreat (pool system; access for other media restricted)
1300: Lunch given by the Prime Minister for Heads of Delegation and Spouses
1830: Reception given by the Scottish Secretary for Ministers, Senior Officials and Spouses
2000: Commonwealth in Concert Gala Event hosted by the Prince of Wales and Edinburgh City Council
Monday 27 October 1997
0930: Fourth Executive Session of Commonwealth Heads of Government
1400: Concluding Press Conference by the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary General
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The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Edinburgh, Britain, from 24-27 October 1997. The venue will be the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). The CHOGM Media Centre, with facilities for written and broadcast media, will be located in the Scottish Power Building, Dewar Place, adjacent to the EICC.
Heads of Government will be on Retreat in the town of St Andrews on Sunday 26 October, returning to Edinburgh the same day. Press Pools will be assigned to cover the St Andrew's Retreat on a limited basis. A separate Pool Schedule will be issued nearer the time.
Access to media facilities will be available only to accredited media representatives. Accreditation is open to bona fide journalists, broadcasters, photographers, film and television camera crew and technicians. Applications for accreditation should be made on the attached form or on photocopies made from it.
Applications must be accompanied by a letter on headed paper from your organisation indicating your function, signed by a senior executive confirming that the applicant has been assigned to cover CHOGM, and supported by a National Press Card or equivalent identification. You must also include two passport-sized photographs.
Media representatives should report to the Media Accreditation Desk in the Media Centre, located in the Scottish Power Building, to complete their accreditation. Passes will be available for collection from the Media Centre from midday on Wednesday 22 October.
A Media Accreditation Form is available for printing directly from your browser or alternatively from a Microsoft Word Document. These should be printed out and sent to CHOGM Accreditation accompanied by the letter on headed paper as indicated above.
Accreditation applications should be sent to the following by 26 September:
Information & Public Affairs Dkvision,
London SW1Y 5HX,
Helpline: +44 (0)171-747 6385,
Fax: +44 (0)171-839 9081,
Email helpline: email@example.com
Main Press Work Area
A general work area will be provided in the Media Centre. The work area will be equipped with up to 250 work desks, standard British power points (3 square-pin, 240 volts, 50 Hz) will be provided at each desk, a limited number of PCs with Microsoft Windows packages plus printers (not Apple-Mac compatible) will also be available.
Telecommunication facilities (telephone, fax, pager) will be provided. Telephones provided in the general work area will have British Telecom standard modem points.
A very limited number of power and modem adaptors will be available, but you are strongly urged to bring your own.
A Chargecard/PIN system for the payment of all telephone, modem and fax calls will be installed and there will be a limited number of payphones. Mobile/cellular telephones will also be available for hire.
Television and Radio
The Host Broadcaster will provide television coverage of photo opportunities during CHOGM. Pictures will be fed on to the Pool Channel and will be available for recording and editing by broadcasters at the Media Centre.
Further details will be available shortly from the Host Broadcaster:
17 Nassau Street,
London W1N 7RE,
Tel: +44 (0)171-580 3333,
Fax: +44 (0)171-637 1942
A radio centre will also be established. Facilities will be available on a bookable basis. Further details are available from:
Finlay Morton Radio Technical Services,
London SE11 5RH,
Tel: +44 (0)171-735 2020,
Fax: +44 (0)171-735 7876
Media Centre Opening Times
1200 - 2000 hours Wednesday 22 October
0800 - 2400 hours Thursday 23 October
and then open on a 24-hour basis from
0600 hours Friday 24 October until
2200 hours on Monday 27 October
An Information Desk, main and supplementary briefing rooms and cafeteria facilities will be in operation throughout the Conference period.
Scheduled daily briefings by the Conference Spokesperson and press conferences will take place in the Media Centre or in the Auditorium of the EICC.
Television monitors will be placed throughout the Media Centre to relay messages, general information and transmit the Host Broadcaster Pool Channel.
A CHOGM Website (http://www.chogm97.org/) will be on-line from mid-August.
A limited number of offices for news agencies or other news organisations will be available. These will be supplied with basic furniture (4 desks, 5 chairs, 4 telephone lines and handsets, modem points and power sockets). Any other equipment will need to be provided by the users.
News Agencies who wish to book specialist office space or who need further information on Agency facilities please contact:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
London SW1A 2AH,
Tel: +44 (0)171-210 2349,
Fax: +44 (0)171-210 2422
Accommodation and Transport
Rooms in several hotels in Edinburgh have been booked for use by visiting media. A transport shuttle service, provided by the host government, will operate between the main press hotels, other designated stops, the Commonwealth Centre for NGOs and the Media Centre.
Please complete the attached form to book hotel rooms. While we will try to meet individual accommodation requests, it may be necessary to resort to second and third choices.
Pressure for accommodation will be intense so media are asked to return hotel booking forms no later than 1 September 1997. After that date there is no assurance that the hotel accommodation of your choice will be available.
Accommodation forms must be sent separately to:
Grand Central Square,
44 Wellington Road South,
Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 3TA,
Tel: +44 (0)161-475 2062,
Fax: +44 (0)161-480 4467,
Early Booking is Advisable
Most international flights to Britain arrive at London Heathrow or Gatwick Airports. Regular air shuttle services operate to Edinburgh from both airports, with flight times of approximately one hour, from 0700 - 2000 hours at Heathrow and 0700 - 1845 hours at Gatwick. Travel by train from King's Cross Station, London, to Waverley Station, Edinburgh, takes around four and a half hours. Trains run throughout the day with a sleeper service also available.
Bus services from Edinburgh Airport to Edinburgh city centre run approximately every 10-15 minutes. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes and costs £3.50. Taxis to the city centre cost between £12 - £15.
Help desks will be open at key times at Edinburgh Airport and Waverley Station to assist you to find your way to the city centre, hotels or the Media Centre.
Passports and Visas
Nationals of some Commonwealth and other countries may require a visa to enter Britain. Before travelling you are advised to check with the nearest British Diplomatic Mission.
No vaccinations are required for international travellers entering Britain.
Accredited media bringing technical equipment with them into Britain will be subject to full Customs control unless they follow one of the following three options:
Customs and Excise will give a waiver of documentation if:
arrival/departure is by direct flight to/from Edinburgh Airport (this includes just passing in transit at another airport)
you are only covering CHOGM
A Duplicate List Simplified Procedure is available at British airports. Please:
provide two copies of a letter of authority from your organisation on arrival
give Customs a dated and signed list of:
name and address of importer
trade description of goods
approximate value of goods
length of stay in Britain
ask Customs to cancel the authorisation on departure.
Please note, option B does not apply to stills photographers.
Media with technical equipment who enter/exit the European Community via a European Community country other than Britain can obtain an ATA Carnet, if their country has signed the ATA Carnet Agreement.
It is recommended that stills photographers obtain ATA Carnets if they are arriving at a British Airport other than Edinburgh.
Any equipment or other item brought into Britain from a non-European Community country, which has a value of more than £145, must be declared to Customs at your point of arrival.
For further details, contact your local British Diplomatic Mission.
Certain goods are prohibited or restricted to protect health and the environment. We have listed some of the items below:
Unlicensed drugs; offensive weapons; obscene material; counterfeit and copied goods; firearms, explosives and ammunition; animals; live birds; endangered species; meat, poultry; certain plants; radio transmitters.
This list is not comprehensive. For full details of current British requirements please contact your local British diplomatic mission.
St. Andrew's Retreat
Heads of Government will spend Sunday on retreat in St Andrews. This will be a day for private, informal discussions and recreation, limited to Heads of Delegation and their spouses. Selected Press will be permitted to cover the official Retreat on a limited pool basis and a small media centre for their use only will be set up. Further information will be available from the Pools Desk in the Media Centre at Edinburgh.
Because of the nature of the Retreat day, the number of participants in the Pools will be kept to a minimum. However, Host Broadcaster TV and stills pictures will be constantly relayed to the Media Centre throughout the day.
Those outside the pooling arrangements will find access to St Andrews restricted.
Accreditation and Accommodation Forms
This web form can be printed out from HTML or a MicroSoft Word Document version (12K) can be downloaded and printed, either can be filled in and mailed to CHOGM accreditation
Commonwealth Heads of Government met in Edinburgh from 24-27 October 1997. Of the 51 countries which attended the Meeting, 43 were represented by Heads of State or Prime Ministers. The Meeting was chaired by the British Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair.
The Opening Session of the Meeting was addressed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth.
Heads of Government expressed satisfaction at the return of Fiji on 1 October 1997 to the Commonwealth, as its 54th member state.
Heads of Government congratulated the Governments and peoples of India and Pakistan who have recently celebrated their 50th anniversaries of independence.
Heads of Government conveyed their appreciation for the excellent arrangements made for their Meeting and the warm hospitality extended by the British Government and people, as well as for the Chairman's admirable conduct of the Meeting.
Heads of Government adopted the Edinburgh Commonwealth Economic Declaration on Promoting Shared Prosperity, which they saw as a fitting complement to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991.
Heads of Government expressed concern about the special problems of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). To enable them to share the benefits of globalisation, they invited donors to work for the target of 0.15 per cent of GNP for LDCs. They also resolved to promote the role of micro credit in poverty reduction.
Heads of Government received with satisfaction the attached Report of the Chairman of the Ministerial Group on Small States. They also welcomed the Report of an Advisory Group, A Future for Small States: Overcoming Vulnerability, as an important Commonwealth contribution towards addressing the particular concerns of small states, and agreed on a package of measures to alleviate these concerns.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their commitment to the fundamental values of the Commonwealth, as set out in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991 and emphasised that democracy, good governance, sustainable development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms were interdependent and mutually reinforcing. They commended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for its work in strengthening the democratic culture and effective parliamentary practices, and its efforts to enhance the participation of women in public life.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the valuable role played by the Secretary-General's good offices, at the request of the concerned member governments, to help resolve potential or actual conflicts.
Heads of Government received the Report from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG) covering three countries, viz. The Gambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and accepted its recommendations.
They welcomed the completion of the electoral phase of the transition to civilian, democratic and constitutional rule in The Gambia and received the assurances of the Gambian authorities that they would further demonstrate their stated commitment to the Harare principles.
Heads of Government observed that the continued existence of a military government in Nigeria was a prime source of Commonwealth concern. They expressed concern about the failure to observe fundamental human rights, in particular the continued detention and imprisonment of many Nigerians, including Chief Moshood Abiola and General Olusegun Obasanjo. Accordingly, they decided that Nigeria should remain suspended from the Commonwealth.
They noted the positive contribution which Nigeria has been making to efforts through Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in support of democratic government within the West African region, and expressed the hope that this reflected a determination to comply with the Harare principles in its domestic policies.
Heads of Government also empowered CMAG to invoke, in the period before 1 October 1998, Commonwealth-wide implementation of any or all of the measures recommended by CMAG if, in CMAG's view, these would serve to encourage greater integrity of the process of transition and respect for human rights in Nigeria. These included:
visa restrictions on members of the Nigerian regime and their families;
the withdrawal of military attachés;
the cessation of military training;
an embargo on the export of arms;
the denial of educational facilities to members of the Nigerian regime and their families;
a visa-based ban on all sporting contacts;
a downgrading of cultural links; and
the downgrading of diplomatic missions.
16. Heads of Government agreed that, following 1 October 1998, CMAG should assess whether Nigeria had satisfactorily completed a credible programme for the restoration of democracy and civilian government. They further agreed that if, in that assessment, Nigeria had completed a credible transition to democratic government and to observance of the Harare principles, then the suspension will be lifted; and if not and it remained in serious violation of the Harare principles, Heads of Government would consider Nigeria's expulsion from the association and the introduction of further measures in consultation with other members of the international community as recommended by CMAG. Such measures would include a mandatory oil embargo, a ban on air-links with Nigeria and the freezing of the financial assets and bank accounts in foreign countries of members of the regime and their families.
Heads of Government strongly condemned the military coup in Sierra Leone in May 1997, which resulted in the unconstitutional overthrow of its democratically-elected government, and called for the immediate reinstatement of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, whom they welcomed to their Meeting. They endorsed the decision taken by CMAG, in accordance with the provisions of the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme, that pending the restoration of the legitimate government, the participation of the illegal regime of Sierra Leone in the councils of the Commonwealth should remain suspended.
Heads of Government welcomed UN Security Council Resolution 1132 (1997) imposing petroleum, weapons and travel sanctions on the military junta in Sierra Leone and authorising ECOWAS to impose economic measures against the regime. They urged member governments to co-operate in the implementation of these sanctions, and in ensuring the continued isolation of the regime in Freetown within the Commonwealth and the wider international community. They agreed to assist the victims of the situation in Sierra Leone in their own countries, as well as in other countries of the Commonwealth which may request such assistance. They pledged the support of the Commonwealth for the efforts of ECOWAS to resolve the Sierra Leone crisis, including the provision of technical and logistical support to enable ECOWAS to carry out its responsibilities. They also pledged Commonwealth support for the reconstruction of Sierra Leone upon the resolution of the crisis. In the meantime, they looked forward to further clarification of the reported agreement between the ECOWAS Ministerial delegation and the military junta that the latter would demit office and allow the reinstatement of President Tejan Kabbah in six months' time.
Heads of Government reviewed the composition, terms of reference and operation of CMAG. They decided that CMAG should continue its work as a standing ministerial mechanism to address serious and persistent violations of the principles of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration. They agreed that CMAG should, in the two-year period after the Edinburgh CHOGM, consist of the following countries: Barbados, Botswana, Britain, Canada, Ghana, Malaysia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. They further agreed that in future CMAG's remit should extend to member countries deemed to be in serious or persistent violation of the Harare principles, on the basis of established guidelines. They decided that the Commonwealth Secretary-General, acting on his/her own or at the request of a member government, should bring the situation in question to the attention of the CMAG membership, which would then include it or otherwise in its work programme in the light of its guiding principles.
Heads of Government received and endorsed a report from the Intergovernmental Group on Criteria for Commonwealth Membership. They agreed that in order to become a member of the Commonwealth, an applicant country should, as a rule, have had a constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member; that it should comply with Commonwealth values, principles and priorities as set out in the Harare Declaration; and that it should accept Commonwealth norms and conventions.
Recalling Palestine's historic association with the Commonwealth, Heads of Government welcomed the interest expressed by the Palestinian Authority in Commonwealth membership. They recognised that, under the Oslo Accords, Palestine may attain state sovereignty in 1999. Once this was so, the case for membership would be duly determined in accordance with the agreed criteria for Commonwealth membership. Heads of Government also considered applications for membership of the Commonwealth from Rwanda and Yemen and agreed that these should be kept under review in the context of the criteria endorsed by them.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. They called for the implementation of United Nations resolutions on Cyprus, in particular Security Council Resolutions 365 (1974), 550 (1984) and 939 (1994). They regretted that negotiations on a solution have been at an impasse for too long and strongly supported the process of direct intercommunal talks under the UN Secretary-General's mission of good offices. They expressed concern about recent threats of use of force and integration of the occupied territory by Turkey and reiterated support for President Clerides's demilitarisation proposal. They called for the withdrawal of all Turkish forces and settlers, the return of the refugees to their homes, the restoration of and respect for human rights of all Cypriots and the accounting of all missing persons. They expressed concern and disappointment that progress had been impeded by the efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side to introduce pre-conditions to the talks and called for a co-operative attitude from all sides for the achievement of a comprehensive, just and workable settlement on the basis of a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation. While noting the existence of the Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus, they welcomed the initiative of the Commonwealth Secretary- General to nominate an observer at the UN-sponsored negotiations. They recognised that Britain as a permanent member of the Security Council and as a guarantor Power has a special position in this matter.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their strong support for the territorial integrity, security and sovereignty of Belize. They welcomed the consultations and co-operation between Guatemala and Belize on the implementation of confidence-building measures and called for continued dialogue at the highest levels. They encouraged Guatemala to recognise the constitutional borders of Belize to allow for an early settlement of their outstanding claim. They reiterated their request to the Secretary-General to convene the Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize whenever necessary.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their strongest condemnation of acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, which destabilise the political, economic and social order of sovereign states. They reiterated their determination to combat terrorism, whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or states, by every means possible consistent with human rights and the rule of law. They also recognised the linkages between terrorism, illegal trafficking in drugs and arms, and money laundering. They welcomed the growing international consensus in fighting terrorism, and in particular the steps taken towards a UN Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, and hope that this would contribute to the development of a comprehensive legal framework. They also called on all states to enact laws to make punishable acts of conspiracy within their jurisdictions to commit terrorist offences.
Heads of Government addressed the serious humanitarian crisis caused by anti-personnel mines and noted the negotiation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, adopted in Oslo on 18 September 1997. They invited Commonwealth and other countries in a position to do so to consider joining the original signatories of this Convention when it first opens for signature in Ottawa on 3 December 1997. They stressed that an effective solution to the global problem of anti-personnel mines would only be possible through effective international co-operation in all relevant fora including, inter alia, the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament, regional organisations and groupings and enhanced international assistance for mine clearance and for the care and rehabilitation and economic integration, of mine victims.
In acknowledging the multi-faceted problems affecting the Mediterranean, Heads of Government welcomed the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in 1995 and its follow-up conference in Malta in 1997, and affirmed their support to the international and regional institutions committed to the promotion of peace and security in the Mediterranean region.
Heads of Government expressed their belief that an International Criminal Court (ICC) would be an important development in the international promotion of the rule of law. They expressed support for the efforts of the UN Preparatory Committee to negotiate a Statute for an ICC and encouraged participation in those negotiations and in the Plenipotentiary Conference next year by as many Commonwealth countries as possible.
Heads of Government considered various aspects of Commonwealth functional co-operation, which they reaffirmed as essential for translating the benefits of membership to member states. They endorsed the attached Report of the Committee of the Whole and requested the Secretariat to intensify its efforts to establish priorities in these areas, based on the Commonwealth's comparative advantage.
Heads of Government accepted with great pleasure the offer of the Government of South Africa to host their next Meeting in 1999, and the offer of Australia to host their Meeting in 2001.