Utilising connections and collective action to accelerate social advantages, increasing youth inclusion and gender balance are crucial.
Saying women leadership in Commonwealth member states is crucial to achieve gender equality and sustainable development, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, has set 50:50 role for men and women in the economy by 2030 as a target.
However, she believes that progress will be severely hindered unless violence against women is eliminated. Research indicates that the cost of violence against women could amount to around 2% of the global gross domestic product, which is equivalent to 1.5 trillion USD, amounting to approximately the size of the Canadian economy.
Speaking at a session on “The Commonwealth: For a Smarter, More Resilient and Gender Balanced Future”, organised by Observer Research Foundation, on 13 December in New Delhi, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland said significant strides have been made in a few member countries to end violence against women but the Commonwealth regions still have a long way to go. Inclusiveness and balance are powerful factors in building resilience and reducing vulnerability, which are the key in achieving a more sustainable, fairer, secure and prosperous common future.
Trade among the Commonwealth nations has risen to 600 billion as of today, and will amount to roughly worth a trillion by 2020. Utilising connections and collective action to accelerate social advantages, advance towards increased youth inclusion and gender balance are crucial items on the agenda.
The session, chaired by Dr. Samir Saran, Vice President, ORF, also saw the participation of the Ministry of External Affairs, India, Joint Secretary Rudrendera Tandon. The session is organised even as the Commonwealth nations are preparing themselves for the Head of Governments Meeting in 2018.
There are approximately 2.2 billion people living in the Commonwealth countries as of today, and 60% of this population is under the age of 30. It is predicted that 40% of the world’s workforce will soon be residing within the Commonwealth regions. In a few years’ time, 60% of the Commonwealth citizens will Indians.
Over the years, the Commonwealth has developed a powerful international voice and has equipped itself with the ability to do good for its member states. A procedural culture has evolved built on informality, consensus based decision making, and a strong sentiment wherein opinions and needs of the most vulnerable are taken into account. As India’s maritime interests expand, re-engagement with Indian diaspora across the Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Caribbean comes into play, it is essential to articulate as to how important is this multilateral organisation to the countries which are of interest to India. Like other members, India views the forthcoming London Summit as an important stepping stone en route to a comprehensive revitalisation of the Commonwealth.
The family of 52 independent and equal sovereign nations, has grown and sprouted organically rather than as a political blueprint. The Commonwealth is adept and particularly well suited for responding to emerging challenges and new opportunities by working together. The modern Commonwealth is bound together by the joint commitment of the members to core principles, consensus and common action, mutual respect, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, legitimacy and responsiveness. Mutual support, spirit of goodwill, respect and cooperation during times of crisis has resulted in the theme “Towards a Common Future” for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting taking place in April 2018.
In order to establish a strong defense against geographic, economic, social, political and human vulnerabilities, there is a need to raise awareness and work with international community on practical approaches leading to mitigation, adaptation and resilience. The aim is to develop without depleting, along with reciprocating between human needs and balance of our natural environment. The Commonwealth Secretariat envisions to create an innovation hub to tackle the collective issues in a smarter manner across member countries.
Now, trade among the Commonwealth nations has risen to USD 600 billion, and will amount to roughly worth a trillion by 2020. Utilising connections and collective action to accelerate social advantages, advance towards increased youth inclusion and gender balance are crucial items on the agenda.
This report is prepared by Jhoomar Mehta, Research Intern, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi