South Africa calls for Commonwealth to remain relevant through solidarity

Johannesburg, Mar 16 (PTI): The Commonwealth, a political association of 56 member states, needs to remain relevant through solidarity in addressing global issues, the South African government has said.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) made the statement as it marked the Commonwealth Day on Monday.

“South Africa believes that the Commonwealth continues to play an important role in a world where there is increasing pushback against the forces promoting collective action and international solidarity and cooperation,” the department said.

“The Organisation, which represents countries from across the development spectrum, should use its unique position to continue calling for the strengthening of existing multilateral mechanisms and institutions and transform them to suit current global realities.

“The Commonwealth provides an opportunity to address issues of common interest, including implementation of development goals and the reform of constitutions of global governance, in particular the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the United Nations,” DIRCO added.

South Africa said that the Commonwealth must remain at the forefront of the struggle for the advancement and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, gender equality and women empowerment.

“The 56 members of the Commonwealth will be able to assist each other, only through increased solidarity, to address the challenges we are currently facing. This will ensure that the Commonwealth continues to remain relevant and grow,” it said as it pledged to uphold and serve the values and fellowship of the Commonwealth.

DIRCO said the addition of new states to the Commonwealth family is indicative that the Organisation has become more responsive to the development goals of developing countries.

The African nations of Gabon and Togo became the latest members of the Commonwealth last year.

“The Commonwealth provides a platform for mutual support and growth and challenging issues faced by many developing countries.

“As in the past, South Africa will cooperate with the Commonwealth family of nations to create a better life for its citizens through economic transformation and collaboration in the fields of education and skills development, women and youth empowerment, technology and innovation, health, climate change, as well as trade and investment,” DIRCO concluded.

India plays a key role in the Commonwealth, serving on a number of bodies, among them the Steering Committee on Commonwealth Connects, the Standing Committee on Terrorism, Commonwealth Advisory Board on Sports, Grants Committee of Commonwealth Foundation and the Executive and Accreditation Committees of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Board of Governors. PTI FH RDT

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