Dr. Claire Auplat, an academic specialising in institutional theory, suggests building on the existing capacities of the Commonwealth to ensure the association’s survival.
Dr. Auplat classifies the Commonwealth as a ‘conditional organisation’, meaning one that links member status to specific conditions. In the case of the Commonwealth this refers to historical and cultural links to Britain and, more recently, the promotion of values such as democracy.
The Commonwealth Association, Uganda, engaged over 400 people in their consultations on the future of the Commonwealth.
Speaking to students at various universities, the following observations and recommendations were made:
1) The Commonwealth has done little to raise awareness amongst the people of its work, mission and engagements
2) The Commonwealth should push more for the enforcement of democracy and good governance
3) Its role on the world stage is unclear
4) It has not benefitted the common man
5) The Commonwealth should intervene more to guarantee free and fair elections in all countries
Title: Conversation Youth Discussion in Namibia Location: Namibia Date: 2009-10-16
A Commonwealth Conversation took place between a group of young people in Namibia.
1 student had heard of the Commonwealth Games, but did not know who participated in these games and where the next games were to be hosted. When asked of evidence of the Commonwealth’s presence in their community, “there was no response”.
The students spoke passionately about the situation in Zimbabwe and want the Commonwealth to help resolve this. They also asked the Commonwealth to provide more grass roots information on its scholarships and to check how country governments are managing international aid and funding.
This critique of ‘the Commonwealth family’ is written by a young African member of a Commonwealth civil society organisation.
The inter-governmental Commonwealth works in many of its member states and assists them in election observation, peace building and technical assistance. There are also so called Commonwealth ‘civil society’ organisations in almost every country.
Despite these connections and good works, there are still many people that do not know anything about the Commonwealth, suggesting that there is much room and need for the organisation and its work to be highlighted.