Commonwealth Meetings

The various inter-governmental meetings on the Commonwealth calendar are the most important venue for civil society advocacy within the Commonwealth. The most important of these is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which happens every two years. Various Ministers also meet from time to time. Another important meeting is of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which meets at least once a year.

Civil society consultations and parallel civil society fora accompany many of these meetings, sometimes organised by the Commonwealth Foundation and sometimes by civil society groups themselves. These provide one way for civil society to ensure their views are heard by the officials, but a lot of lobbying before the meetings and on its fringes is usually required in order to influence discussions and outcomes. In recognition of the value of non-governmental contributions, some meetings are now including more formal ways for civil society input - a move that will hopefully become more widespread over time.