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Commonwealth seeks more support to stay relevant

Last Updated: Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 15:30

London: The Commonwealth, which India`s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru thought could bring "healing touch globally", is weakening for want of funds and support, a report has said.
The 54-member body of former British colonies must "walk-the-talk" on the values it stands for, said the report released ahead of the Commonwealth Day on Monday.

Danny Sriskandarajah, director of the Royal Commonwealth Society that published the report, said the Commonwealth secretariat`s annual budget was less than what Britons spend daily on health and beauty products.

"More money will help, but to fulfil its potential the Commonwealth must make more innovative use of its resources and networks. I hope the results of this consultation will act as the catalyst for change."

Participants in the Conversations said the body was seen as elitist and fussy and should change its approach and try to reach out to the people in the Commonwealth nations.

Titled ‘An Uncommon Association, A Wealth of Potential’, the report points out that the secretariat`s budget has dropped by 21 percent in real terms in the last 20 years, despite the number of Commonwealth members rising from 48 to 54.

The report argues that additional funding will be no solution to the problems.

The association is perceived as failing to live out its values and principles. Bolder leadership, more ambition and innovation, and a better use of its unique strengths will be crucial for long-term survival.

Once a major player on the world stage, the report says that the body has neither the clout nor the resources to fulfil its potential.

Its official institutions, charged with promoting development and democracy in member states, have a workforce half a percent of the UN and an annual budget one percent of Britain`s Department for International Development.


First Published: Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 15:30

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