1912Published on April 19, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has put forward a proposal to reform the Commonwealth by revitalising its secretariat to make the 53-member body much more relevant in the current global context.
"We appreciate that the Group (High-Level Group or HLG) is dealing with important questions of prioritising member states developmental challenges, funding, and revising Secretariat’s governance structure to make it lean and efficient," she said at the executive session of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on Thursday.
"But," she added, "We feel that we need to go beyond the scope of HLG work."
"In order to make the Commonwealth relevant to its peoples, it is important to revitalise the Secretariat through a comprehensive reform," the Bangladesh leader said.
"(The) Role and functions of various Commonwealth bodies need reorientation and reorganisation to meet the constantly evolving needs and expectations of the member states.
"Reform is also essential if we wish to achieve the goals identified in this CHOGM under the four thematic pillars. We also recommend the formation of an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to undertake a comprehensive reform of Commonwealth," Hasina continued.
"I look forward to the discussions in our meetings over the next two days. Our agenda contains a wide range of pressing issues facing the member states currently all over the globe.
"I hope that 25th CHOGM can help the Association take a leap forward in realising our vision and shared responsibility for a poverty-free, progressive, prosperous, more connected, vibrant and visionary Commonwealth of Nations for the future generations," Hasina added.
She hoped the Commonwealth would focus on result-oriented efforts in their work in the next two years centring more on the trade, economic and sustainable development and practical challenges faced by the majority of the Commonwealth countries.
Hasina thanked the secretary-general for the report covering the work and initiatives of the Secretariat.
However, she noted with appreciation the outcome-based Strategic Plan 2020-21 brought in by the Secretary General which aligned its medium-term objectives with the charter and the 2030 development agenda.
British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she arrives at St James’s Palace in London to join the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. "We also appreciate the Secretariat for developing an annual delivery plan. This should be considered a beginning and part of the broader and comprehensive reform of the Commonwealth to make it more people and development centric.
"I suggest that the Secretariat should continue to intensify its focus on development issues, capacity building, technology transfer, the aide for trade and investment-related issues.
"The Secretariat should design action plans to implement the Commonwealth declarations on connectivity, cybersecurity and governance, as well as the blue charter. The Secretariat may also assist member states to explore the creation of a mechanism or platform for sharing good practices on the SDGs, among the Commonwealth states," she added.
Hasina appreciated Queen Elizabeth II, who saw the Association grow six-fold in nearly seven decades.
She also thanked the Commonwealth secretary-general and other leaders attending the meeting, including the leaders of the host Britain for successfully holding the meeting.
Hasina is due back home on Apr 23.