The Commonwealth Secretariat is responsible for organising ministerial level meetings of education ministers, finance ministers, foreign ministers, health ministers, law ministers, tourism ministers, women's affairs ministers and youth ministers, from the Commonwealth.
Civil society may engage in these meetings through full consultation ahead of the meeting, submit papers and briefs, and participate as observers in plenary sessions and as full participants in working sessions and roundtables. However, the levels and terms of civil society engagement at these meetings is varied and not always institutionalised. This has lead to ad hoc participation by civil society and the ministers not fully benefiting from the available perspectives.
The Commonwealth Foundation organises parallel activities and consultations for CSOs in the lead up to a ministerial meeting. The Eminent Persons Group in 2011 called for closer collaboration between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Foundation to improve civil society access to meetings. And there are several ongoing initiatives to improve the processes in this regard.
Below are CHRI’s submissions to some of the ministerial meetings: