Areas of Work - The Four Pillars

The Institute is building its activities with four strategic pillars: societies, economies, environment and governance.


The Institute assists member states in their efforts to develop and sustain free and democratic societies based on the principles which their leaders have adopted. This entails:

  •  Providing information about policy options to policy makers in Government, in civil society and the private sector.
  • High quality policy analyses.
  • Recommendations that are of practical and lasting value to member states.


The Institute seeks to promote the capacity of Commonwealth nations to implement sustainable development policies, and the impact of international trade and financial systems on the economies of Commonwealth states. Most recently, the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development examined the significant effects of migration and diaspora communities on the economies of Commonwealth countries.


The Institute operates as a hub for the dissemination of information and policy initiatives to assist member states in their efforts to improve the lives and well-being of their citizens. Citizens of the Commonwealth comprise one third of the world’s population, the majority of whom live in developing countries.High quality research is undertaken on issues which are relevant to all its member states, for example migration and diasporas, environment and climate change, which have consequences for governance.


The Institute aims to provide practical assistance for the Commonwealth island states regarded as most vulnerable to inundation from sea level rise. There are some ten of these, including Bahamas, Tuvalu and the Maldives. The Institute’s priority reflects the fact, stated in the second report from the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development (2011), that threatened communities would like to remain in place if at all possible. Working with partners, the Institute is developing a methodology and technical recommendations for States at most immediate risk; such a methodology may also help larger and land-locked states. The Institute is seeking to galvanise Commonwealth political support to implement its technical recommendations.