The Political Affairs Division (PAD) facilitates consultation and consensus-building among Commonwealth governments. To this end, it monitors international political developments, conducts research and prepares briefings on political issues of interest to member countries.
The division works closely with the Secretary-General, providing him with advice and support on political issues, and particularly in his 'Good Offices' role and other conflict resolution activities undertaken in consultation with the Commonwealth chairperson-in-office or at the request of member governments. The 'Good Offices' role has become increasingly important in resolving tensions, in conflict prevention and resolution and in post-conflict rebuilding.
The division services meetings of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG), which was established by Commonwealth Heads of Government in November 1995. PAD also organises and services biennial meetings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), and occasional meetings of ad hoc standing committees with specific remits.
PAD is the lead division for reinforcing democratic processes and institutions in member countries. This takes the form of observation of elections at the request of member governments either by full Commonwealth Observer Groups or by small Secretariat teams constituted by the Secretary-General, provision of technical and advisory services to governments and organising workshops focused on various aspects of democratic processes and institutions, as required.
The division is responsible for liaison with the United Nations and other international and regional organisations.