Commonwealth Secretariat Small States Global Meeting


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Commonwealth Secretariat Small States Global Meeting

  1. 1. A Regular Small States Meeting Feasibility of the Commonwealth convening periodic global meetings of small states representatives Mr. David Peretz
  2. 2. Overview • Existing meetings and fora • Potential value of an additional meeting • Issues for discussion • Aims and outputs • Attendance and format • Periodicity, location and timing • Emerging views from questionnaire answers
  3. 3. Existing meetings and fora • In 1983, a Commonwealth Consultative Group ‘s proposals led to formation of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Small States which used to meet in the wings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings. This group no longer meets, apart from occasional meetings of High Commissioners in London. • The April 2000 report of a Joint World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat Task Force on Small States led to the establishment of the annual Small States Forum by the World Bank – which continues to meet for a few hours each year in the margins if the Bank/Fund Annual Meetings. • The adoption of the Mauritius Strategy in 2005, led the UN to dedicate one day as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) day during the annual Council on Sustainable Development (CSD) deliberations. In 2007 no SIDS day was held, and in 2008 it was only a side event during the CSD deliberations. • In the WTO there are Dedicated Sessions on issues relating to small vulnerable economies in the Committee on Trade and Development.
  4. 4. Potential value of an additional meeting • It would supplement the more narrowly focused WTO and UN SIDS meetings, by providing a forum at which the complete range of issues of concern to small states could be discussed. • It would provide a forum, like the present meeting, at which issues could be discussed at greater length and in greater depth than is possible at the annual World Bank Small States Forum. • It would replace the now defunct Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Small States as a forum for considering and agreeing messages about the special needs and concerns of small states to be conveyed to CFMM, CHOGM, to the international institutions and to the global community – for example to meetings of the G8 and G20.
  5. 5. Issues for discussion • 2006 review of 2000 Task Force report identifies 14 areas as critical for small states development, ranging from adjustment to new trade regimes and economic management to governance, security and crime and regional cooperation. • Could discuss all these themes and others. • Sensible to choose particular themes for particular meetings – such as focus of current meeting on implications of global crisis
  6. 6. Critical areas identified in 2006 review • Adjustment to new trade regimes. • Economic management and public finance. • Education and strengthening the knowledge base. • Private sector development. • Financial sector development and regulation. • Governance and capacity building. • Security and crime. • HIV/AIDS • Environment and sustainable development. • Managing natural resource endowments. • Disaster insurance and risk management. • Debt management and relief. • Youth unemployment. • Regional cooperation.
  7. 7. Potential aims and outputs • It could serve as a forum where small developing states and the international institutions and donors that provide advice and help can share experiences and learn from each other how best to address their particular vulnerabilities. The work of the Small States Network for Economic Development will be relevant. • It would provide an opportunity – like the present meeting - for small states to discuss the impact and challenges they face as a result of major global developments - political, economic, financial, environmental, and other. • It could agree and deliver messages, advocacy, on behalf of small states. Within the Commonwealth to CFMM and CHOGM. But also to relevant global meetings, including the G7/8 and G20; to the UN; and to international institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO and their governing bodies.
  8. 8. Attendance and format • Should involve non-Commonwealth as well as Commonwealth small states, for maximum value and impact. • Probably useful to involve international organisations and IGOs. • 1 ½ to 2 days to give more time for discussion than annual World Bank forum. • Probably senior official rather than ministerial level. • A combination of presentations, plenary discussion and break out sessions.
  9. 9. Periodicity, location and timing • Advantages of association with another existing meeting, but probably not a realistic option. • Every 2 years, rather than every year? • London, at least for initial meeting. Possibly rotating thereafter? • February, July, or November?
  10. 10. Initial views from answers to questionnaire • Only 7 replies so far. • But appears to be considerable support for idea. • Will analyse when have more complete set of responses.