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[Published: Tuesday May 13 2008]

Commonwealth leaders to scrutinise global institutions

London, 14 May  (ANA)  Twelve Commonwealth leaderswill meet in London on June 9 and 10 to discuss the reform of internationalinstitutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, theCommonwealth Secretariat announced here today.

The leaders will be drawn from all five continents on whichthe Commonwealth is present and will represented small and large countries, andrich and poor states.

This is a rare and hugelysignificant gathering of Commonwealth leaders, said CommonwealthSecretary-General Kamalesh Sharma.

Some of today's keyinternational institutions, established more than half a century ago, are notaligned to the way that the world has changed.

Meanwhile, in areas likeenvironmental governance there are gaps in the architecture of internationalorganisations, which must be filled.

There is a need for change,and that change must reflect the full global spectrum of interests and needs.International institutions must support an inclusive and comprehensiveglobalisation, which benefits the entire global community.

The meeting will focus onpractical steps, which Commonwealth member states can take to achieve thereform and coherence of global institutions.

Its three-part focus will beon the international financial institutions, global environmental governance,and the UN system.

These bodies need to reflectthe interests of the whole membership, especially those small developingstates, as championed by the Commonwealth, whose voice is often not heard ininternational councils, Mr Sharma said.

I expect the diversity ofour membership and the strength of our influence to achieve global impact.

The meeting is the first stepin implementing the decision of the November 2007 Commonwealth Heads ofGovernment Meeting (CHOGM), at which leaders decided to establish a smallrepresentative group from their 53-member association, to undertake lobbyingand advocacy for the reform of international institutions.

The 2007 CHOGM communiquésaid heads of government expressed concern that the current architecture ofinternational institutions, which was largely designed in the immediateaftermath of the Second World War, does not reflect the challenges in the worldof the 21st century.

This undermines thelegitimacy, effectiveness and credibility of the whole international system."

The leaders requested the secretarygeneral to establish a small representative group of their number that wouldbuild on the considerable work that had already been done to undertake advocacyand lobbying in support of wide-ranging reforms.

In doing so, the group wouldtake particular cognisance of the special needs of least developed countries (LDCs)and small states.

The group is expected toreport back to the next CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009. (ANA)

DD/ANA/14 May 2008 ---

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