As of 1 February 2020, the Republic of Maldives has officially re-joined the Commonwealth of Nations. This afternoon, President Solih received a phone call from Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, informing of the Maldives’ bid to re-join the organisation after successfully fulfilling all requirements set out by the Commonwealth.
The campaign pledge by His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives, to re-join the Commonwealth was among his first policy decision upon taking the Oath of Office on 17 November 2018. Within a few weeks of obtaining Cabinet approval to implement this policy, the People’s Majlis unanimously endorsed this decision, in line with the aspirations of the Maldivian people.
The Commonwealth Secretariat undertook their First Assessment Mission in January 2019 and engaged with important domestic stakeholders to assess the Maldives’ application to re-join the Commonwealth. Following this, in April 2019, the Commonwealth Observer Group visited the Maldives to observe Parliamentary Elections. On 12 June 2019, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, formally handed all documentation outlined in the Commonwealth’s membership criteria to the Secretary-General. Finally, in August 2019, the Commonwealth Secretariat undertook their Second Assessment Mission and met with a number of key interlocutors.
The Maldives re-joins the Commonwealth as its 54th Member State. The Maldives has been particularly active and played positive roles in thematic meetings on youth, health, education and women’s rights. In 1992, the inaugural meeting of Commonwealth Youth Ministers was held in the Maldives. The Maldives has also actively participated in the Commonwealth Games. The next Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom from 27 July to 7 August 2022, will be a further avenue for Maldivian athletes to compete at the highest level.
The Commonwealth has historically been more sensitive to the needs of small states than any other international organisation. Drawing from past experience with the Commonwealth Secretariat, and their track record, there are a number of potential areas for fruitful engagement between the Government of Maldives and the Commonwealth including combating climate change, trade, youth empowerment, good governance, capacity building, gender equality and justice.
The Maldives looks forward to participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting to be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June this year, and playing a constructive role within the Commonwealth and its subsidiary organisations and associations. The Maldives also reaffirms its commitment to the Charter of the Commonwealth.