The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 54 independent member states. All member states except two, Mozambique and Ruanda, were part of the British Empire, out of which the Commonwealth has developed. The member states co-operate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration of 1971. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace. The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation in which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.
The Commonwealth is home to two billion citizens of all faiths and ethnicities and includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Over half of its citizens are 25 or under. The Commonwealth believes the best democracies are achieved through partnerships – of governments, business, and civil society. Beyond the ties of history, language and institutions, members are united through the common values of democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and opportunity for all. Member countries come from six regions: Africa (19); Asia (8); the Americas (3); the Caribbean (10); Europe (3); and the South Pacific (11).
In order to promote its vision the Commonwealth has supported the development of an extensive range of associations representing different professional and social areas of business and public service. Collectively these organisations make up the “Commonwealth Family”.
Copyright The Commonwealth Nations (the commonwealth.org)