Research & Reports

Operating at the forefront of Commonwealth affairs, The Royal Commonwealth Society, often working with valued partners,  regularly publishes research that explores the values and aspirations of the Commonwealth, and encourages dialogue across the member nations.

Commonwealth Conversation Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities IV

This report summarises the fourth in a series of discussions on the challenges and opportunities for the Commonwealth associated with a United Kingdom exit from the European Union, a ‘Brexit’. It was attended by High Commissioners and diplomatic staff in London as well as a panel of experts.

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Commonwealth Conversation: Promoting Economic Resilience

The Royal Commonwealth Society, in partnership with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK, convened the latest in its series of anti-corruption roundtables on the 11th April 2017, kindly hosted at The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. The guest speaker was Ben Morgan, Joint Head of Bribery and Corruption at the SFO.

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Capitalising on the Commonwealth: UK Business Priorities

The Royal Commonwealth Society, in partnership with political lobbying and media relations company, PLMR, commissioned polling on UK businesses seeking their priorities for Commonwealth trade deals post-Brexit. These results form a snapshot of our forthcoming work on Brexit’s challenges and opportunities for the Commonwealth.

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Commonwealth Conversation Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities III

This report summarises the third in a series of discussions on the challenges and opportunities for the Commonwealth associated with a United Kingdom exit from the European Union, a ‘Brexit’. It was attended by High Commissioners and diplomatic staff in London as well as a panel of experts.

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South African Visitor Visa Campaign

The Royal Commonwealth Society has launched a campaign and petition to restore visa-free travel for South Africans visiting the UK. The goal is to demonstrate to both the UK and South African Governments the significant public support for a return to visa-free travel.

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Commonwealth Conversation Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities II

This report summarises the second in a series of discussions on the challenges and opportunities for the Commonwealth associated with a United Kingdom exit from the European Union, a ‘Brexit’. It was attended by High Commissioners and diplomatic staff in London as well as a panel of trade experts.

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Commonwealth Conversation Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities

This report summarises the first in a series of roundtable discussions on the challenges and opportunities for the Commonwealth associated with a United Kingdom (UK) exit from the European Union (EU), a ‘Brexit’. It was attended by representatives of Commonwealth accredited organisations.

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A Passage from India - Improving UK visitor visas for Indian nationals

A new report published by the Royal Commonwealth Society in partnership with leading aviation tourism and industry groups including the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), recommends that India be added to the UK’s latest £87 two-year visitor visa scheme.

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Factsheet - Improving UK visitor visas for Indian nationals

A factsheet highlighting headline information and statistics from the RCS report, A Passage from India

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A Commonwealth Toolkit for Policy Progress on LGBT Rights

This report brings together the second phase of research carried out by the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Kaleidoscope Trust which maps LGBT rights in the Commonwealth as well as views expressed by a broad range of Commonwealth diplomats in an ongoing series of discussions. The report presents a range of good practice in policies, laws and judgements drawn from all regions.

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Factsheet - Policy Progress on LGBT Rights Reports

A factsheet highlighting headline information and statistics from the Commonwealth Toolkit for Policy Progress on LGBT Rights

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How to solve a problem like a visa - revisited: Polling graphic

Public opinion polling commissioned by the Royal Commonwealth Society showed strong support for freedom of movement rights between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. Headline figures showed 70% of Australians, 75% of Canadians, 82% of New Zealanders, and 58% of Britons polled were in favour.

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Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage in the Commonwealth

A summary report of the round table discussion hosted by Canada House and co-chaired by the Zambian High Commissioner and the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner on 10 February 2016.

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Saved by the Bell

Produced in partnership with Commonwealth Exchange, this report reveals the lack of knowledge of the Commonwealth amongst UK school children today, and offers policy-makers a plan to reverse the trend.

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A View to CHOGM

A summary report from the Panel Discussion convened by the Royal Commonwealth Society on Monday 8th July 2015. Hosted by the High Commission for Cyprus in the UK.

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Preventing Child Marriage in the Commonwealth: the Role of Education

The latest in a series of collaborative research undertaken by the RCS and Plan UK. This report seeks to address the key role that education plays in preventing child marriage, and urges Commonwealth Education Stakeholders to play a more active part in ending child marriage.

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The Gender Agenda: Youth Perspectives from across the Commonwealth

Between the 13th and 17th May the Royal Commonwealth Society convened young experts on gender issues from over 20 countries to form the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN). This outcome paper has been written by the network as a statement of priorities and recommendations for the Commonwealth. This document does not necessarily represent the views of the RCS.

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Collaboration and Consensus: Building a Constructive Commonwealth Approach to LGBT Rights

This report brings together the first phase of research carried out by The Royal Commonwealth Society and The Kaleidoscope Trust which maps LGBT rights in the Commonwealth as well as views expressed by a broad range of Commonwealth diplomats in an ongoing series of discussions.

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Governance of the Commonwealth

On the 26th March 2015, the Royal Commonwealth Society held a high-level round-table discussion on Governance of the Commonwealth. Leaders from diplomacy, academia, Commonwealth organisations and NGOs discussed the challenges and priorities for the structures of the Commonwealth. We have produced a report of this event to stimulate a broader discussion.

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Values in the Commonwealth

On the 28 January 2015, the Royal Commonwealth Society held a high-level round-table discussion on values in the Commonwealth. Leaders from business, diplomacy, academia and NGOs discussed the challenges, priorities and opportunities for promoting values in the Commonwealth. We have produced a report of this event to stimulate a broader discussion.

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Prosperity in the Commonwealth

On the 16th December 2014, the Royal Commonwealth Society held a high-level roundtable discussion on prosperity in the Commonwealth. Leaders from business, diplomacy, academia and NGOs discussed the challenges, priorities and opportunities for promoting prosperity in the Commonwealth. We have produced a report of this event to stimulate a broader discussion.

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Hidden Violence in the Commonwealth - Report

A report highlighting hidden violence across the Commonwealth, including modern slavery, child marriage, intimate partner violence and female genital mutilation.

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Hidden Violence in the Commonwealth - Infographic

The infographic contains data on modern slavery, intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation / cutting, and child marriage. Deep-rooted gender inequality is an important factor in the violence that the map shows, with the majority of violent acts perpetrated against girls and women.

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The Commonwealth and Human Rights: Priorities from Colombo to Valletta

A report from a panel discussion hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society on the 24th March 2014.

A response from the Commonwealth Secretariat is available on our 'News & Blog' page.

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Evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence

The Royal Commonwealth Society submitted evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK's influence. Amongst other things, it argued that the Commonwealth is a soft power network in which member states can construct shared understandings on certain values and principles.

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Europe and the Commonwealth: How can Britain make the most of both worlds?

This report is a record of a conference convened by the Royal Commonwealth Society with support from the European Commission. It took place at Europe House, Smith Square, London on the 17th of July 2013. The conference sought to explore the UK’s relationships with the EU and the Commonwealth using the lenses of trade and identity.

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Empowering Girls: What the Commonwealth can do to end Early and Forced Marriage 2013

On the 14th and 15th of October, the Royal Commonwealth Society, Plan UK, and the Commonwealth Secretariat co-hosted a Commonwealth Roundtable on Early and Forced Marriage. The two-day roundtable, held at Marlborough House, brought together senior officials from across the Commonwealth to explore the legal and cultural barriers inhibiting progress and to exchange best practice.

Around the world over 14 million girls marry under the age of 18 every year, over half of whom live in the Commonwealth. This roundtable is part of the RCS's and Plan UK's ongoing campaign to end early and forced marriage in the Commonwealth. A key outcomes document will be published shortly, but in the meantime, take a look at our report to read what the Commonwealth can do to help put a stop to this harmful practice.

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Commonwealth Compared

On Thursday 23 May 2013, the Royal Commonwealth Society published 'Commonwealth Compared 2013: Setting the Scene'.

The research was conducted to ascertain whether membership of the association confers any measurable advantage upon its states. To do this, the report compares Commonwealth countries with their non-Commonwealth regional and economic counterparts across a range of indicators, including competitiveness, press freedom, inequality, gender, peace, democracy and environmental sustainability.

The first ever Commonwealth index of its kind, the report shines new light on the association's greatest strengths and weaknesses. The RCS will now use this research to launch further publications and constructive debates around the potential of the Commonwealth.

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Because You're a Girl: Growing up in the Commonwealth

In 2011 the RCS and Plan UK published 'Because You're a Girl: Growing up in the Commonwealth' to mark the Commonwealth's 2011 theme, 'Women as Agents of Change'. The report revealed that New Zealand is the best place in the Commonwealth to be born a girl, whilst Sierra Leone and Nigeria are among the worst.

'Because You're a Girl: Growing Up in the Commonwealth' compares how well girls/women are doing relative to boys/men in their country across eight indicators. The report suggests that it is political will - and not economic wealth - which is most important in advancing gender equality. Some of the poorest countries in the Commonwealth do relatively well against the eight indicators used in the report, while some rich countries remain a long way off gender equality.

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Report of the Roundtable on the 'Arms Trade Treaty and the Commonwealth'

Report from a roundtable convened at the Royal Commonwealth Society on the 28th May 2012 between UK government, NGOs and diplomatic representatives to discuss the forthcoming arms trade treaty.

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Trading Places: the 'Commonwealth effect' revisited

2010 research published by the RCS shows that a Commonwealth country's trade with another member is likely to be a third to a half more than with a non-member, even after taking into account other possible contributory factors such as proximity, level of development and language.

The research also reveals that, over the last two decades, the importance of
Commonwealth members to each other as sources of imports and destinations for exports has grown by around a quarter and third respectively.

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The Commonwealth Conversation

Run by the RCS from July 2009 to March 2010, the Commonwealth Conversation was the largest, global consultation ever undertaken between the peoples of the Commonwealth about their association.

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