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    About Commonwealth

    The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 52 independent and equal sovereign states.

    The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty of our members are small states, many of which are island nations.

    Our shared values and principles are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter.

    Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.

    The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009. Find out how countries can join the Commonwealth in our Frequently Asked Questions.

    The Commonwealth Secretariat

    The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, provides guidance on policy-making, technical assistance and advisory services to Commonwealth member countries. We support governments to help achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.

    Our work promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development. We are a voice for small states and a champion for youth empowerment.

    Priority areas of work are agreed at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which occur every two years. The next summit is in the United Kingdom in 2018.

    The Commonwealth Secretariat’s structure is split into three areas: Governance and Peace, Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources and Economic, Social and Sustainable Development overseen by the Secretary-General’s Office. We work in divisions, units and sections to achieve mandates set by Heads of Government.

    Our Vision

    To help create and sustain a Commonwealth that is mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous and that cherishes equality, diversity and shared values.

    Our Mission

    We support member governments, and partner with the broader Commonwealth family and others, to improve the well-being of all Commonwealth citizens and to advance their shared interests globally.

    For more information, please contact Commonwealth.