Lord Howell discussed Commonwealth priorities with an influential group of stakeholders on 9 January, at a conference organised by The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs.
Lord Howell said the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth in October resulted in some of the most significant reforms in Commonwealth history.
Lord Howell said the Perth meeting was the start of a process, which he hoped would bring real progress for the Commonwealth in 2012 and the future. He used the meeting to describe some of the key challenges for the Commonwealth in 2012, including:
- His desire to see swift implementation of reforms to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).
- His desire to see UK involvement in the newly created Ministerial Task Force to consider the outstanding Eminent Person Group recommendations for modernisation.
- Further work on taking forward the charter for the Commonwealth through national consultation leading to an accessible and relevant document for all Commonwealth citizens.
The Minister said the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting in September would be a key milestone for the organisation in 2012 to progress key priorities post Perth.
He also said that the Commonwealth was not a top down organisation and civil society had a significant role to play. Lord Howell concluded by reiterating UK support for the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which has been established to commemorate the extraordinary service of HM The Queen’s 60 years as Head of the Commonwealth.