The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) today met for the 54th time to discuss developments in member states. The group was formed in 1995 to be a custodian of fundamental political values of the Commonwealth. It is made up of a rotating group of foreign ministers, representing all regions of the Commonwealth, including the Foreign Minister of the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, the host nation of the previous Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
In 2011, Commonwealth Heads of Government endorsed a strengthened mandate for CMAG to play a more constructive role in supporting member countries adherence to Commonwealth values. At today’s meeting CMAG members worked to implement this enhanced mandate, and to consider ways in which the Group could continue to deepen its impact. CMAG members also received a briefing from the Secretary-General on her Good Offices engagements, which are carried forward alongside the mutual support Commonwealth member governments offer one another so that respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic processes are all strengthneed.
The Group commended the Secretariat’s ongoing democracy work through the deployment of Commonwealth Observer Groups, including post-election follow-up work and technical support to implement electoral reforms to improve national democratic processes.
CMAG noted that Maldives and Zimbabwe had applied to be readmitted to the Commonwealth, and supported the Commonwealth dealing with their applications in an expeditious manner, consistent with established rules and procedures.
CMAG meetings are convened by the Commonwealth Secretary-General with the Commonwealth Secretariat providing secretarial support. The group may agree measures for collective action to deal with persistent or serious violations of Commonwealth values, including suspending membership of the Commonwealth or even recommending expulsion.
Today’s meeting was chaired by Ambassador Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, and co-chaired by Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia. The meeting was attended by Ministers and Representatives of Australia, Barbados, Belize, Ghana, Malaysia, Samoa and the United Kingdom.