Organization: The British Commonwealth of Nations

Event: Yale-MUN 2004, Alternative Assignment

Student: Dheidan Al-Shammari


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An appropriate song ("Let 'em in")

The British Commonwealth of Nations

I. Function and Organization

A. Abstract:

The British Commonwealth of Nations is an organization made up of fifty four countries led by the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth is committed to a set of fundamental values spelt out in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991, at the core of which is belief in and adherence to democratic principles.


B. History:

It all began many years ago when the Empire that ruled the world, British Empire began its process of decolonization and the creation of independent states from former British colonies. After the United Kingdom began to recognize colonies their independence the need for an organization of countries formerly part of the Empire arose due to the fact that these new free states required association. Anyhow the United Kingdom only granted membership to countries who had allegiance to the British Crown.

If we focus carefully on the countries that are members on the Commonwealth of Nations we will see that not all countries that got independence from the United Kingdom joined the Commonwealth. These countries didnít join due to two important reasons:

1. Their economy was strong enough that they didnít require any help from the United Kingdom and they didnít want to help member countries cause there were new countries.

2. They didnít accept the idea that the United Kingdom should be the leader.

Thus, in 1931, the British Commonwealth of Nations was founded under the Statute of Westminster with five initial members - the United Kingdom, Canada, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, and the Union of South Africa. Ireland permanently left the Commonwealth in 1949 because it became a republic, Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949, and South Africa left in 1961 due to apartheid but rejoined in 1994 as the Republic of South Africa.

Well India is a republic yet it is a part of the Commonwealth so this needs an explanation. Anyhow colonies in the Commonwealth were changing from countries to republics and when India changes a country that weight a lot in the British scale London Declaration occurred. London Declaration, 1949, was that all members accepted the British monarch as head of the Commonwealth regardless of their domestic constitutional arrangements, is now considered the start of the modern Commonwealth

Alarmed by that in 1946, the word "British" was dropped and the organization became known as simply the Commonwealth of Nations. Of course this action was before London declaration.


C. Functions:

The Commonwealth was established to help countries in many ways which are in:

1. Legal Co-operation: well this function is to trade law and emerging laws between member countries for example a third world country adapting the United Kingdoms law concerning hacking.

2. Strategic Planning, Evaluation and Regional Co-ordination: well this function is to find ways to retort and reply to global changes in the world.

3. Environment: this function is to work hand by hand to promote economic development that is environmentally sound and socially sustainable

4. Health: The Health Section has merged with the Gender and Education Sections to form the Social Transformation Program Division (STPD). The three sections work together to translate into action the vision of the Commonwealth and work towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

5. Science and technology: The Commonwealth Science Council (CSC) is the unit of the Commonwealth that deals with science and technology. Anyhow the CSC tries to improve science and technology so that they can improve environments, social and cultural development of the Commonwealth as a whole.

6. Sustainable Development: this function may be the most important because member countries meet to address poverty alleviation through an integrated focus on all three pillars of sustainable development - Environmental, Social and Economic.

7. Democracy: the Commonwealth is committed to a set of fundamental values spelt out in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991, at the core of which is belief in and adherence to democratic principles.

8. Gender: will the Commonwealth is asking the world to get gender equality.

9. Human rights: Human Rights Unit (HRU) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is the unit responsible for human rights in the Commonwealth were they demand for human rights.

10. Small states: Well the Commonwealth is made up of 53 countries which 32 of them are considered to be small states. So the Commonwealth help theses small states by addressing them 60 per cent of the Commonwealth Secretariatís technical assistance is currently devoted to small states, mainly in the form of advocacy, policy advice and support for national and regional capacity-building.

11. Youth Empowerment: The Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP) is the unit interested in this field from the Commonwealth units. Anyhow the youth empowerment is to make young men and women use and fulfill their potential and use their creativity and skills as productive members of the global society

12. Education: the Commonwealth seeks and wishes that each person reaches at least basic education yet hope for more.

13. Globalisation: well its that the Commonwealth is helping member countries of advancing in technology to reach future requirements and to be ready for the future.




II. Budget:

The money for the Commonwealth comes from members of the Commonwealth. Each member pays an agreed amount estimated by the Commonwealth based on the countryís population and income.

The Commonwealth Secretariat and its activities are supported by an assessed budget and three specialized funds.

The assessed budget covers the Secretariat's operating costs and programs and amounts to £11,436,070 in 2002-2003. All member governments contribute to this budget on an agreed scale based on their country's population and income.

In addition, three specialized funds support specific Commonwealth activities.

The largest fund is the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), with a budget of £22.22 million in 2002-2003. This fund was established in 1971 to promote technical co-operation among developing countries and funds training programs, experts in the field and advisers to fill gaps in skills in key areas such as industry, economics, law, export and marketing. Dependent territories and associated states which contribute to the CFTC also benefit from its resources. Contributions to the CFTC are voluntary.

The Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP) is a fund which empowers young people to develop their potential as productive and dynamic members of society. It supports, among other things, regional centers in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South Pacific. In 2002-2003, the CYP's budget was £2,308,500. Contributions to the CYP are voluntary.

Lastly, the Commonwealth Science Council (CSC) promotes the sharing of scientific knowledge and experience among its members. In 2002-2003, this fund was £912,005.



III. Friends and Opponents

A. Political Allies:

Well countries that really form a strong political affect are very few in the Commonwealth cause they are those countries with strong developed economies. These countries are the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

As we see the member list of all the Commonwealth members are mentioned in the table below. The United Kingdom and Australia, New Zealand and Canada may be the only countries actually that are working as helping allies. Other allies only receive help or help but in very minute rates. Well we must also consider outside allies, which are countries with good relations to the United Kingdom especially. So we may consider the United States an outer ally to this organization due to its very strong relationship between it and the United Kingdom. And w may also consider the European Union a great ally to this organization due to its relations with the United Kingdom.

Antigua & Barbuda
New Zealand
Pakistan (susp)
Papua NG
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Sri Lanka
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
The Bahamas
The Gambia
United Kingdom
Zimbabwe (suspended)



IV. Strength and weakness:

Well if we think about the Commonwealth of nations we will find fifty countries yet only five countries of them are economically developed. Nearly about most of the countries n the Commonwealth are poor and require help which forms a weakness because only less than 5% of the countries in the Commonwealth can actually give help to other countries.

Well the fact that member countries must consider British monarch as head of the Commonwealth regardless of their domestic constitutional arrangements is also another weakness in the system.

Well if we think about it a country wont scarify itself for other countries benefits so this action benefits the United Kingdom only not benefiting or hurting other countries on their economical scale or other scales.

The fact that the Commonwealth actually support countries and aid them is considered a face of strength for the Commonwealth. Thirteen valuable functions are supplied to the fifty four member states in which to support them and aid them.

The fact that the Commonwealth is supported by the United Kingdom, the country that actually formed this Commonwealth, is considered to be strength itself. The question is why? First of all when the UK supports this organizations that means that the European supports it cause the UK is a member of it. It also means that the United States, the strongest and most powerful country in the world, also supports it due to excellent relations with UK. Alarmed by the fact that most of these countries donít carry an common factors to enhance their relationships which forms a weakness. It also forms a strength because these countries will try hard to stick to each other not to lose support aided by each one of them to the other. The United Kingdom has a great strength from this organization. The United Kingdom uses many of the member countries in the SC to vote with United Kingdom resolutions which makes a great strength for the United Kingdom.




Opening speech.

An organization based on the standard of help and share. An organization made to overcome future and global changes. An organization made to spread justice and to spread equality. An organization that seeks for high education for young men and women.

Itís the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Itís a nations where true sharing and caring occur between fifty four member states. Itís the only nation were countries do not regret helping each other yet are pleased to do so. Itís the nation that wishes for piece and works to fight the global and future changes, itís the British Commonwealth of Nations.