The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states.
The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty-one of our members are small states, many of which are island nations.
Our shared values and principles are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter
Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.
The Commonwealth Secretariat
The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, supports Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace. We are a voice for small and vulnerable states and a champion for young people.
We help to strengthen governance, build inclusive institutions and promote justice and human rights. Our work helps to grow economies and boost trade, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality.
We provide training and technical assistance and support decision-makers to draw up legislation and deliver policies. We deploy experts and observers who offer impartial advice and solutions to national problems. We also provide systems, software and research for managing resources.
At Commonwealth summits, we bring together government leaders whose decisions will have an enduring impact on all citizens. By uniting our member countries in this way, we help to amplify their voices and achieve collective action on global challenges.
Priority areas of work are agreed at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which occur every two years. The next summit is in Rwanda in 2020.
The Commonwealth Secretariat’s structure is split into three areas: