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Royal Commonwealth Society, Ottawa, Special Newsletter #2

Royal Commonwealth Society, Ottawa

Special Newsletter #2 – June, 2020

Commonwealth Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Produced by: Brian Herman, RCSO VP Policy and Planning


The second in a series of special newsletters on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic is a global health and societal emergency that requires effective and immediate action by governments, organizations and individuals.

The Commonwealth as an organization and Commonwealth member governments are working together. Here are some highlights of recent action.

  • Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has been postponed. It was scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on June 22-27, 2020. The CHOGM and associated events will be held in Kigali at a time to be announced later.

  • The Commonwealth Secretary-General believes that COVID-19 has led to a rise in domestic violence and that tackling this ‘hidden pandemic’ requires concerted action. Read her views in The Independent newspaper.

  • In fighting the flames of COVID-19, other issues are getting suffocated in the smoke - unhealthy trade-offs arise as other challenges may be neglected and pushed to the side. Learn more about the mounting threats to Commonwealth members from the Secretariat’s Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development Directorate.

  • The Commonwealth Secretariat continues its seminar series on ‘The Economics of COVID-19’ for Commonwealth countries to share the challenges they are facing and exchange ideas for solutions. For more information and to register.

  • In the latest policy newsletter Hot Trade Topics the International Trade Policy Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat examines ‘Trade in COVID-19 Related Medical Goods – Issues and Challenges for Commonwealth Countries’ (a long read, but highly informative).

  • The Director General of the Commonwealth Foundation, Anne Gallagher, released a recent statement on the ways the organization’s operations are being affected and how they are adapting, as well as a blog post on shielding democracy from COVID-19. The Foundation is featuring views from its Board advisors on the pandemic, such as this post on the particular threats faced by Caribbean countries.

  • Commonwealth election professionals have been exchanging ideas about how to adapt their work during a global pandemic Asian and Pacific electoral officials joined the webinar “The Impact of the #COVID19 Pandemic on Elections and EMBs"  Read about the Commonwealth Observers Group most recent report, report on the 2019 elections in Mozambique.

  • The impact of COVID-19 on education is a major concern for governments and institutions across the Commonwealth. As schools close, limitations on access to education is not the only worrying consequence of the Covid-19 crisis. For many children, attending school is not just an opportunity to learn, but their only chance to eat a hot meal. The impact on nutrition is explored in this post by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Education Adviser, Dr. Amina Osman.


If you’re on social media, particularly Twitter, The Commonwealth Secretariat is using the hashtag #HowIFightCOVID19. And you can connect with the Commonwealth more generally on social media using#VirtualCommonwealth

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