July 16, 2010
Commonwealth Secretary General names Eminent Persons Group

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on July 7 announced members of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group (EPG).{{more}}

“This distinguished Group will set out decisive recommendations on how to strengthen the Commonwealth and fulfill its potential in the 21st century,” Sharma said when he made the announcement in London. “The Group’s work will aim to ensure that the Commonwealth remains relevant to its times and makes the best use of its networks and partnerships to do so.”

At their 2009 meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Commonwealth leaders called for the “creation of an Eminent Persons Group to undertake an examination of options for reform in order to bring the Commonwealth’s many institutions into a stronger and more effective framework of co-operation and partnership.”

The Group is also tasked with looking at the format, frequency, and content of Commonwealth ministerial meetings.

The EPG will have its first meeting in London from July 19 to 20 2010. The Group will present its recommendations to Commonwealth leaders at their next meeting in Perth, Australia, in October 2011. The Group is also expected to consult extensively with governments, civil society groups and professional associations, and individuals within the Commonwealth as well as those beyond the membership with an interest in the Group’s work.

“All members of the Group have strong connections with the Commonwealth, have seen the Commonwealth in action, and also have wider knowledge and experience to contribute. They will be able to speak with authority about the Commonwealth’s challenges, how the association can be strengthened, as well as bringing a wealth of other experiences to bear on their deliberations,” Sharma said.

The Group’s members are representative of the diversity of the Commonwealth. They will participate in their individual capacities and will not represent the views of any member government.

The members are as follows: Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Malaysia, Chairperson); Patricia Francis (Jamaica); Dr Asma Jahangir (Pakistan); Samuel Kavuma (Uganda) – (Commonwealth Youth Caucus); The Hon Michael Kirby (Australia); Dr Graca Machel (Mozambique); Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind (UK); Sir Ronald Sanders (Guyana); Senator Hugh Segal (Canada); Sir Ieremia Tabai (Kiribati).