Special membership of the Commonwealth of Nations

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A special member was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations whose participation was limited in certain functions. Originally, it was a status held by a few newly joined countries, whose involvement was limited by its own limited financial resources. More recently, the name has been changed to member in arrears,[1] from the 2007 CHOGM on the recommendation of the Committee on Commonwealth Membership.[2] The guidelines came from the 2003 CHOGM in Abuja that strengthened and replaced the 1999 CHOGM Durban guidelines.[3]

They are not required to make payments to the Commonwealth. They may attend most functions and organs of the Commonwealth, but are not invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. They are, although limited in these respects, still considered members of the Commonwealth.

The status was created especially for Nauru, which had an exceptionally small population and area.[4] Nauru was followed by fellow Pacific sovereign state Tuvalu, and then the larger Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Maldives. These progressively gained full membership, leaving none from September 2000. However, Nauru fell behind on its subscription payments, and reverted to a special member in July 2005. Nauru has been a full member again since June 2011.[5]

List of special members

Member Special membership Full membership
 Nauru (first time) 1 November 1968 1 May 1999[6]
 Tuvalu 1 October 1978 1 September 2000[7]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 27 October 1979 1 June 1985
 Maldives 9 July 1982 20 July 1985[8]
 Nauru (second time) July 2005[9] 26 June 2011[5]


  1. ^ Number 89 Archived 2011-01-08 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ McIntyre, W. David (April 2008). "The Expansion of the Commonwealth and the Criteria for Membership". Round Table. 97 (395): 273–85. doi:10.1080/00358530801962089.
  3. ^ The Abuja Guidelines
  4. ^ Herr, Richard (October 2006). "Australia, Security and the Pacific Islands: From Empire to Commonwealth". Round Table. 95 (387): 705–16. doi:10.1080/00358530601046893.
  5. ^ a b "Nauru back as full Commonwealth member". Radio New Zealand International. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Nauru Accedes to Full Membership of the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. 12 April 1999. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Tuvalu Accedes to Full Membership of the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. 14 August 2000. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  8. ^ "The Maldives and the Commonwealth". Republic of Maldives. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  9. ^ Reverted 2005

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