Helping to broker peace
The Secretary-General’s Good Offices offers support to member countries, upon request, to defuse political tensions and prevent conflict by assisting countries to resolve internal differences through dialogue, mediation, persuasion and moral authority.
In September 2015 Sir Paul Tovua was a long way from home. The former Speaker of Parliament and current Chairman of the Political Parties Commission of Solomon Islands was in Trinidad and Tobago. He was leading a Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to report on the country’s national elections. The elections there met all the key benchmarks for democratic elections. Overall he was impressed. However, he and his group raised concerns about the financing of political parties. They then made recommendations.
Streamlining election processes
Vanuatu is an extraordinary country. An archipelago island nation in the South Pacific, it has 265,000 citizens living on more than 60 islands. Some of those islands are 1,000 kilometres apart. Imagine trying to run an election there. It is a logistical challenge for the country’s electoral commission.
Empowering young people
Nikoli Edwards stands up for young people. In 2015 he was elected to the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), where he’s now Vice Chairperson of Policy, Advocacy & Projects. CYC is the officially recognised voice of the 1.2 Billion young people of the Commonwealth. And it’s the largest and most diverse youth-led organisation in the world.
Countering violent extremism
“Hate and intolerance are the currency of violent extremism,” says Mark Albon, Head of the Countering Violent Extremism Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat. “We must make it ‘our common cause’ to offer strong alternative narratives that emphasise people’s fundamental human rights, build inclusivity in our societies and diminish the efforts of those who would seek to sow division and discord across the world.”
Training to prevent extremism
In July 2017, we took advantage of the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, The Bahamas, to further our work in preventing violent extremism. Working with the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN), we brought together 22 young leaders from around the Caribbean for a week-long training programme.