The Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence is a predominantly web-based entity established to support and provide capacity to small states in their attainment of national and international development goals. The Centre is a joint initiative of the Government of Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Based in Malta and with a coordinating office at the Secretariat in London, the Centre will have linkages across the world, primarily through the thirty-one small states of the Commonwealth
During the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), leaders welcomed Malta’s offer to establish a Small States Centre of Excellence (SSCoE) that will impart targeted capacity-building programmes and interventions in the areas of both democracy and development. Following the presentation of a feasibility report at the 2015 CHOGM, “Heads recognised the added value that the Centre would bring to small states through the promotion of their interests and the delivery of targeted capacity building programmes and other support. They encouraged member states to support the mobilisation of resources for the Centre.”
On 22 September 2015, the Government of Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat signed a Host Country Agreement (HCA) for the establishment and operationalisation of the Centre. This was followed by the recruitment of a Technical Adviser to design and develop the operational architecture of the Centre.
The priority areas of the Centre for Small States’ development will include but are not limited to public debt management, natural disaster management and mitigation, broadband internet connectivity, diplomatic training, women and enterprise, and ocean governance. The Centre will also look into possible collaboration and synergies with the Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility and with the Malta Commonwealth Third Country Training Programme, as well as with other such programmes including in the areas of Public Administration and Management.
To become recognised as the primary virtual resource centre for small states seeking to meet the sustainable developmental needs of their populations on an equitable basis.
To facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity-building to help small states in the implementation of national and international development goals.
The Centre of Excellence will seek to achieve the following objectives:
- Facilitate targeted and predominantly internet-based capacity-building programmes in areas that benefit small states
- Serve as a focal point for sharing of best practices in areas that benefit small states
- Maintain links with development agencies, academia and other relevant organisations to further the interest of the Centre and the development of small states
- Provide an information and referral service for academic and research work on small states, in partnership with institutions such as the University of Malta, including building and maintaining a repository of research information relevant to small states’ development.