Madam – Dan O’Brien (Sunday Independent, April 13, 2014), gives thoughtful consideration to the value to small states of multilateralism in general and the Commonwealth in particular.
However, there is ample evidence to counter his assertion that the Commonwealth is “not a hugely important organisation for any of the 53 countries in it”.
As he himself acknowledges, smaller, more vulnerable states have more to gain from being in to ‘clubs’ where all members are bound by the same rules.
For that reason, and many others, membership of the Commonwealth is central to those of our 31 members with populations of less than 1.5 million, the internationally agreed definition for a ‘small state’. A quarter of the members of the G20 also belong to the Commonwealth.
This offers opportunities for interface, and direct and crucial global advocacy facilitated by the Commonwealth plays a vital role in ensuring that due consideration is given to the concerns of developing and vulnerable nations when decisions are made that can have very significant impact on their trade, environment, social and economic stability, sustainability and resilience, and addressing serious capacity shortages.
Marlborough House, London
Image: Commonwealth Secretariat