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Commonwealth Small States

Issues and Prospects

image of Commonwealth Small States

Small states face unique challenges as they adapt to the demands of an increasingly global economy. This publication, produced with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, surveys the range of challenges facing small states, including environmental and trade issues, economic problems, the particular challenges facing small states in development, education, and governance, and the issue of regionalism. The book provides policy-makers and parliamentarians worldwide with a detailed insight into how these issues uniquely impact upon small states, and offers recommendations on how to strengthen their capacity to exploit the new opportunities and challenges arising from globalisation.

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Democracy and Good Governance in Small States

The Commonwealth has taken a leading role among international organisations in the promotion of good governance and democracy in small states. The principles guiding these actions were formulated at successive Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGMs), beginning with the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles in 1971, the Harare Declaration in 1991 (which defined democracy and fundamental human rights as core values), and the Millbrook Declaration in 1995, which established a mechanism, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration, to recommend action in the case of ‘serious or persistent violations of the principles’. The 2003 CHOGM in Nigeria reaffirmed the commitment to democracy and development made in the Aso Rock Declaration which declared, among other things, the objectives of promoting ‘a participatory democracy characterised by free and fair elections’, ‘an independent judiciary’, ‘machinery to protect human rights’, and the ‘active participation of civil society, including women and youth’.

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