Small States in the Global Society

image of Vulnerability

This study is the result of a decision by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their 1983 Meeting in New Delhi. It was conceived in the framework of the Commonwealth’s long-standing concern with the economic problems of its very many small member states. The ‘vulnerability’ of small states is the essential concept informing the enquiry and it is considered in all its relevant aspects – military, political, economic, technical, social and cultural.  



The Characteristics of Smallness

The dismantling of the various colonial empires that had been consolidated during the 19th century or even earlier has been one of the most significant developments of the post World War II era, transforming the political map by bringing close to 90 newly independent states into the international community within the space of 40 years. It was not, however, until the seventies that decolonisation started to be applied extensively to territories with only a few hundred thousand people. Among British colonial territories, for example, only 12 such countries had become independent by 1969; whereas, with the exception of three states, all of the 20 countries that have become independent members of the Commonwealth since 1970 possess small populations.


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