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(iii) The Commonwealth Secretariat

This organ is in charge of coordinating the meetings of the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth countries. It has a special status (the "Observer") at the UN General Assembly.

The Head of the Commonwealth Secretariat is the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General has a direct access to all the heads of the governments of the Commonwealth nations. Its headquarters are in London.

The Commonwealth Secretariat has the following functions:

  1. The furnishing of information that is of common concern to all the member nations.

  2. Providing expert technical assistance for economic and social development through the multilateral Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation.

  3. The organizing of biennial meetings of Commonwealth Heads of Governments (CHOGM).

  4. The organizing of annual meetings between the Finance Ministers of the member nations.

(iv) The Role of the Commonwealth

Though it is sometimes criticized as being an unorganized association, the Commonwealth has played an admirable role in world peace. It has a number of accomplishments:

  1. Forum for Discussion; of various issues and a means of arriving at an understanding of the nature of problems. Here the countries can share their experience in dealing with problems.

  2. Promotion of World Peace: The Commonwealth has always taken a stand against the arms race and terrorism. Playing an important role in world peace it has always encouraged peaceful settlement of regional disputes. Further, it has contributed towards strengthening UN efforts for peace and disarmament.

  3. Champion of Racial Equality: Maintaining its stance against racial discrimination, the Commonwealth has always championed the cause of racial equality. It was strongly against the policy of apartheid followed by the government of South Africa.

  4. Economic Development: The Commonwealth has been responsible for the economic development of the less developed countries of the world. Almost 80 percent of the aid given by Britain is provided to less developed countries of the Commonwealth. However, it was observed at the Harare Summit in 1991, the protectionist trade barriers imposed by the developed countries often offset the external aid provided to them. Hence a proposal for debt relief was put forwarded to the developed nations.

  5. Co-operation in Education: The Commonwealth countries have established a large number of scholarships, known as "Commonwealth Scholarships." The idea is to share expertise and specialization in order to boost goodwill among the member nations.

  6. Commonwealth Games: Commonwealth Games are held every fourth year. Athletes from Commonwealth countries compete in sports such as boxing, swimming, cycling and diving, track and field sports, weightlifting, wrestling, etc. The idea of holding a ’Festival’ in order to improve ties between the member nations was put forward by John A. Cooper in 1891. The first Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930 and were called the British Empire Games. The event acquired the name of Commonwealth Games in 1974.

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18.0 Introduction
18.1 Regional Organizations
   a. E.E.C
   b. O.P.E.C
   c. S.W.A.P.O
   d. S.A.A.R.C
   e. A.S.E.A.N,
   f. G.A.T.T.
   g. N.A.F.T.A
18.2 International Organizations
   a. N.A.M
   b. The Commonwealth
   c. U.N.O.
18.3 Dates & Events

Chapter 19


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