Commonwealth at the Heart of British Foreign Policy

29 Jul

Yesterday saw the last day of this year’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, the 57th in its history with the Falkland islands being represented by the Honourable Dick Sawle.

Founded in 1911, active Branches now operate in 175 national, state, provincial and territorial Parliaments, including some 17,000 Parliamentarians. The aims of the Association are to promote parliamentary democracy and the understanding of democratic governance.

“In a world that is dominated by networks and not by the power blocs of old, the Commonwealth is the ultimate network. It has extraordinary reach – across 54 countries, six continents and oceans and two billion citizens.”, said the Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

He went on to emphasise the role that the Commonwealth could play as a leading voice in the global economy, working to liberalise trade and break down barriers for international business. The Commonwealth contains some of the fastest growing new economies in the world, with a combined GDP that has more than doubled in the last twenty years. Over the last two decades the importance of Commonwealth members to each other as sources of imports has grown by a quarter, and by a third as destinations for exports. More than half of Commonwealth countries now export over a quarter of their total exports to other Commonwealth members.

The Falkland Islands joined the CPA in 1975 and will be hosting the Regional Conference in February 2013.

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