My Vision

A Commonwealth of the People

Commonwealth values are the ethos and strength of our family of nations. To respond to today’s needs and a fast-changing world, we need to leverage those values and their outcomes to respond fully to the needs and aspirations of all our peoples. We can realize and sustain the democratic dividend for all Commonwealth Citizens by:

Build resilience across the Commonwealth

Make the Commonwealth work for all its Citizens

Respond to the expectations of the hundreds of millions across the Commonwealth for a good life

Transform the economies of the countries in the Commonwealth

Enable inclusive development and climate resilience

Respond effectively to the existential crisis of climate change and natural disasters

Democracy and Good Governance

We need to redefine Commonwealth values to include a commitment to democracy, peace, justice, and human rights and guarantee a high living standard for Commonwealth citizens.

While we acknowledge the historic achievements of the Commonwealth in election observation, including the Good Offices of the Secretary-General, we must move beyond the mechanics of elections to deepen democratic participation and governance in a world shaped by social media. This requires greater collaboration between the Secretariat and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Our Commonwealth values should serve as a standard for good governance, peace and security, and prosperity, based on empowering women and young people, amplifying the voices of small and vulnerable states, and advocating for sustainable green and blue economies.

My Vision for the Commonwealth - Democracy and Good Governance
My Vision for the Commonwealth - Small Island Developing States

Trade and Investment

Trade and investment are critical drivers for the transformation of the lives of citizens, especially women and the youth.

We need to deliver an inclusive green, blue and consumer-based framework for Commonwealth trade to surpass the potential $2 trillion trade within the Commonwealth.

A Commonwealth strategy for industrialization and economic diversification is a guarantee against the stagnation that is widespread across our member countries.

Youth, Education and Skills

Young people across the Commonwealth constitute a third of all young people in the world.

With technology, automation, AI and social media reshaping industries, creating jobs and enabling collaboration, our youth need to be empowered to tap into these technologies.

Promoting knowledge-intensive innovation, with skills such as adaptability and global awareness will also prepare our youth for the challenges of the twenty-first century.

My Vision for the Commonwealth - Youth, Education and Skills
My Vision for the Commonwealth - Innovation and Startups

Innovation and Start Ups

We need to close the Commonwealth’s digital gap in health, education, finance and trade.

This requires building digital infrastructure to boost connectivity within and between Commonwealth countries.

It also means taking advantage of best practices and attainments across the Commonwealth, including designing core curriculum and common standards and facilitating access to borderless financing to ensure that we are the leaders in innovation, start-ups, and services in the world.

Climate Change

It is impossible to look at a future-looking Commonwealth without a robust Commonwealth strategy on climate adaptation.

We need to achieve a resilient Commonwealth by enhancing climate change leadership and technical assistance.

This would unlock vital finance for vulnerable countries; build blue and green economies across the Commonwealth; and help members overcome external shocks.

My Vision for the Commonwealth - Climate Change
My Vision for the Commonwealth - Climate Financing

Climate Financing

We have a huge need for developing, installing and servicing renewables within the Commonwealth, and global leaders who can deliver on this need.

Credit and other financing from member countries will ensure that we all benefit from the renewable energy revolution and the transition to low-carbon national economies.

The benefits of trade in renewables would offset the costs of this transition and reduce opposition to implementing emission standards agreed upon at the Conference of Parties. This approach represents a true win-win for all stakeholders.

Small Island Developing States

With limited economic opportunities and significant migration, Small Island Developing States often face capacity constraints.

Small States remain susceptible to external shocks because of their geographic positioning, inherent structural challenges, and deep integration into the global economy.

We will strengthen our common strategies to support Small States and position them to better access sustainable financing, build resilience, and enhance their voice on the global stage.

My Vision for the Commonwealth - Small Island Developing States
My Vision for the Commonwealth - Managing Resources

Managing Resources

An ambitious Commonwealth should be funded at comparative levels as other multilateral organizations.

To make this happen, member states could second experts to the Secretariat, freeing up program resources and ensuring long-term stability. This approach would also attract the best talent in the Commonwealth to serve all members.

To better serve our members’ needs, we require greater coordination with other Commonwealth organisations and create or upgrade offices in the Pacific and other regions.

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About The Commonwealth - Shirley Botchwey for Commonwealth Secretary-General 2024

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