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 International Response

In our interpretation of the mandate for this study at the beginning of our Report, we drew attention to the emphasis Commonwealth leaders had placed on the obligation of the international community to, at the very least, provide for the territorial integrity of its smaller member states. As we said there, we see this obligation as essentially stemming from the fact that small states have been welcomed into the world organisation by all member states including the major powers. However, in view of the need for a comprehensive approach to security issues we feel that the international community's obligation should extend beyond safeguarding small states' territorial integrity to include action to strengthen their overall capacity to deter and/or resist the many different types of security threat to which they may be subjected.


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