Friday, 25 March 2011

Eminent Persons Group's Recommendations

While I welcome the Eminent Persons Group's recommendations on the need for reform and greater collaboration between commonwealth agencies, what was not in the report was a great disappointment.

The report did not specify what reforms need to be conducted to ensure the association stays relevant in the future and keeps delivering for all 54 states. The statement on collaboration between agencies and Secretariat, fails to elaborate on the quality and type of technical assistance, or on the delivery of technical assistance through the Commonwealth's Key agencies outside the Secretariat. Delivering though other agencies could be key mechanism to reduce the cost of delivering technical assistance, improving is quality and reducing duplication and redundancy within the Commonwealth family. This would allow the size of Secretariat to be reduced while increasing the quality of scope of the Technical Assistance provided.

It is equally disappointing that the Eminent Persons did not talk about the Private sector and growth, as I have mentioned before, it is my belief that the Commonwealth works at its very best when giving dual focus to both the Harare Declaration on Human Rights and the Edinborough Economic Declaration. And in this time of increased economic hardships in most Commonwealth countries, private sector money is going to be more and more important. It is unlikely Governments are going to put forward large sums of new money given the pressing domestic priorities. Refocusing existing money and mobilising the private sector and other funding sources could be an answer.

As the Eminent Persons Group have said there is now real possibility of the official Commonwealth slowly moving towards the end of the road. I hope the upcoming CHOGM to be held in Perth, Australia in October will give the Association a new beginning. But given the contents of the eminent persons report, I fear it is again going to be tweaking rather than true reform.

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