Commonwealth Secretariat

The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, is the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, facilitating consultation and cooperation among member governments and countries. It is responsible to member governments collectively.

Mission Statement:
We work as a trusted partner for all Commonwealth people as:

  • a force for peace, democracy, equality and good governance.
  • a catalyst for global consensus-building
  • a source of assistance for sustainable development and poverty eradication

Based in London, UK, the Secretariat organises Commonwealth summits, meetings of ministers, consultative meetings and technical discussions; it assists policy development, provides policy advice and facilitates multilateral communication among the member governments. It also provides technical assistance to help governments in the social and economic development of their countries and in support of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.

The Secretariat is headed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is elected by Heads of Government for no more than two four-year terms. The Secretary-General and two Deputy Secretaries-General direct the divisions of the Secretariat. The present Secretary-General is Kamalesh Sharma.

Education and the Commonwealth Secretariat

With the aim of contributing to the development of just, democratic and progressive societies and the goal of high-quality universal education regardless of gender, age, socio-economic status or ethnicity, education is a main priority of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Working in conjunction with Commonwealth governments and other trusted education partners, the Secretariat seeks to attain quality education for all Commonwealth citizens.

The Secretariat is mandated by Commonwealth Ministers of Education and Commonwealth Heads of Government to focus on the two education-related Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) – universal primary education and elimination of gender disparity in primary and secondary education – and the six action areas of UNESCO’s Education For All (EFA) movement: acheivement of universal primary education, elimination of gender disparities in education, improvement of quality in education, use of Distance Learning to overcome barriers, support to education in difficult circumstances, and the mitigation of the impact of HIV & AIDS on education.

The Education Section of the Social Transformation Programmes Division (STPD) is the key action and advisory body of the Secretariat regarding education goals, policies and programmes. The STPD is engaged in activities throughout Commonwealth countries, working in partnership with local governments, international organisations, international civil society and regional bodies to promote the need for expansion of access and improvement in retention and completion of education for all learners.

For more information about education at the Secretariat, please click here.