Commonwealth Ministers Agree on Draft Charter Committing to New Support to SIDS

29 September 2012: Commonwealth foreign ministers have agreed on a draft Charter and discussed a new strategic plan for the Commonwealth Secretariat. According to a Seychelles press release, the draft Charter enshrines the Commonwealth's commitment to support small and vulnerable countries, in particular small island developing States (SIDS), in new and more fundamental ways.

The meeting of ministers took place in New York, US, on 29 September 2012, on the margins of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The charter was developed by a Ministerial Task Force composed of representatives from Australia, Barbados, Belize, Canada, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Solomon Islands and the UK. According to the Secretariat, the draft charter embraces the Commonwealth's fundamental values, principles and aspirations. The draft charter will be submitted to Commonwealth Heads of Government for approval, at a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in November 2013.

Ministers also discussed a new strategic plan to guide the Commonwealth Secretariat's work from January 2013-January 2016. The plan is expected to be endorsed by the Commonwealth Board of Governors in November 2012. [Commonwealth Secretariat Press Release] [Seychelles Press Release]