The Abuja guidelines were approved by Heads of Governments at the CHOGM in Abuja, Nigeria in December 2003. The guidelines govern the procedures for dealing with arrears of contributions to the Secretariat’s funds.
The Abuja guidelines strengthened and replaced the 1999 Durban guidelines.
The following are the provisions of the guidelines:
(i) all countries are expected to pay their annual contributions in full;
(ii) those countries which failed to meet their obligations and were more than a year in arrears (excluding the current year) to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s assessed budget and had not agreed specific arrangements to pay such arrears should not expect to be considered for future technical assistance from any of the Secretariat’s budgets. In addition, such countries will be deemed to have opted to become special members. This would preclude attendance at the Heads of Government Meetings.
(iii) any country that is in arrears to any of the Secretariat’s funds should immediately enter into negotiations with the Commonwealth Secretariat to agree specific arrangements to pay such arrears;
(iv) any money received will be applied first to a country’s current assessed contribution or pledge and then to the most recent arrears;
(v) when a country has been deemed to be a special member through the application of (ii) above, reversion to ordinary member status will be achieved through the payment of the current year’s contribution and maintenance of a plan, agreed with the Secretary-General, to clear arrears. Eligibility to attend Heads of Government meetings would be preserved so long as the country met its current contributions and adhered to the plan for payment of arrears. Default on either count would result in immediate reinstatement of special member status and this would not be lifted until all arrears were cleared and current contributions paid;
(vi) in order to benefit from technical assistance from the CFTC, a country, in addition to meeting its obligations to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s budget as set out in recommendation (ii) above, must have pledged at least four out of five years, including the current year, and should not be more than one year in arrears of payments, excluding the current year;
(vii) in the case of CYP, in addition to meeting its obligations in recommendation (ii) above, a country must have pledged for at least four out of five years, including the current year, and must not be in arrears for more than one year, excluding the current year, in order to participate in the activities of the CYP and attend ministerial meetings;
(viii) in the case of the CSC*, in addition to meeting its obligations in recommendation (ii) above, countries in arrears for more than one year, excluding the current year, would not be eligible to participate in the activities of the CSC and attend Council meetings;
(ix) The Secretary-General would in each case undertake prior consultations with the governments concerned in order to confirm that the measures outlined above would be applied.
* CSC (Commonwealth Science Council) has since been dissolved.
If you require up to date information regarding your country’s pledge, contribution or arrears status please contact Anjani Singh in FMIS on telephone no: 020 7747 6151 or at email@example.com