The Role Of The Commonwealth Organization In Global Governance, 1945-2020.

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Toyin, Isaac
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University of Guelph

Despite the Commonwealth Organization being one of the oldest intergovernmental organizations and the only international organization that survived the Cold War, its role in global governance has been neglected by scholars in the field of International Relations. This is because many do not see it as an international organization but as a mere shadow of the defunct British Empire. This study examines the extent to which the Commonwealth of Nations (CWN), as an international organization, has successfully brought together countries from all levels of development (developed, developing, and undeveloped) into equal partnership. The study examines the organization's role in global governance, the evolution of its membership and the dynamics of its cooperation. It identified four distinct epochs of the evolution of the CWN and particularly on the “new” Commonwealth which came into existence in the 1940s. The research explored the raison d’etre of each of these stages to understand the nature of the Commonwealth cooperation and the organization’s roles in offering solutions to world problems and utilizing global opportunities. The study argues that the organization emerged as a global vanguard for democracy and the promotion of human rights. It employs various strategies to compel or promote change in its member states that were accused of gross violation of the Commonwealth principles as in the case of the military junta-led Nigeria between the 1980s and 1990s. These strategies included persuasive diplomacy, economic and political sanctions, peer pressure, and promises, including, for example, suspending Nigeria from the organization. The study assesses the effectiveness of the organization's use of these strategies on Nigeria and observed that the Commonwealth possesses the best multilateralism and conflict resolution approach than any other international organization. It assesses the role of the Commonwealth in Nigeria’s return to democracy as a case study of how the Commonwealth became a significant force in promoting and sustaining peace, order, stability, development and good governance as an Institution of global governance.

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