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- What is the Commonwealth?
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 countries that support each other and work together towards shared goals in democracy and development.
- How many countries are members of the Commonwealth?
54. (See Country Profiles)
- How many members of the Commonwealth are small states?
32, of which 25 are small island states.
- How many people are there in the Commonwealth?
2 billion citizens.
- How many members of the Commonwealth are under 18?
Almost one billion.
- What countries are members of the Commonwealth?
Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; The Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Cameroon; Canada; Cyprus; Dominica; Fiji Islands; The Gambia; Ghana; Grenada; Guyana; India; Jamaica; Kenya; Kiribati; Lesotho; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Nauru; New Zealand; Nigeria; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Rwanda; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Swaziland; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tuvalu; Uganda; United Kingdom; United Republic of Tanzania; Vanuatu; Zambia. (See Country Profiles)
- What is a member in arrears?
A ‘member in arrears’ does not benefit from technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat and cannot attend CHOGM.
The policy for dealing with countries that have not contributed to the Secretariat’s funds are outlined in the Abuja Guidelines, which can be found on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website:
- What is the ‘British Commonwealth’?
The ‘British Commonwealth’ refers to the Imperial British Empire. The ‘British Commonwealth’ ended in 1949 and a new union of what were defined as ‘freely and equally associated states’ was created.
We include eight French-speaking countries - Cameroon, Canada, Dominica, Mauritius, Rwanda, St Lucia, Seychelles and Vanuatu - and one Lusophone – Portuguese-speaking – which is Mozambique.
All countries are independent today and with equal votes. It is from history that our association emerged, but it is our shared values and goals that unite Commonwealth countries today.
- What is meant by the ‘modern Commonwealth’?
On 26 April 1949, eight Commonwealth leaders from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom met and adopted what has become known as the ‘London Declaration’, which changed membership in the Commonwealth from one based on common allegiance to the British Crown to one in which members agreed to recognise King George VI as the Head of the Commonwealth. (So, the Headship is vested in the person and not the position.) This marked the end of the colonial British Commonwealth and the birth of what is now referred to as the modern Commonwealth, an association of independent countries united as ‘free and equal members’.
- Is there a voting system in the Commonwealth?
No. All decisions are reached by consensus from all Heads of Government.
Click here to learn more about the Commonwealth
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