The Isle of Man and the Commonwealth
As a British Crown dependency, the Isle of Man cannot become an individual member of the Commonwealth. However, the UK’s membership of the Commonwealth includes the Isle of Man, and this allows the Island to become involved in a range of Commonwealth activities and organizations.
The Isle of Man supports the aims and objectives of the Commonwealth and this is demonstrated clearly in the range of Commonwealth bodies and activities that the Island has become involved in. The Isle of Man has separate membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the Commonwealth Games Federation, and the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators. The Isle of Man has also formed parts of the UK delegations to certain meetings such as the Commonwealth of Finance Ministers. Through these activities, the Island is able to promote good governance, democracy, and international friendship, and is also able to benefit from the trade and business links that are cultivated throughout the Commonwealth.
Good Governance through the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The Commonwealth charter emphasizes the community as a force for good throughout the world, and the CPA is a major means to this end. The CPA promotes good governance, the rule of the law, and an adherence to prevailing international standards. Tynwald is a longstanding member of the CPA, and this has served to enhance the reputation of the Island as a respectable international citizen with a jurisdiction that supports good governance and strong parliamentary democracy. The Island has offered advice and assistance to new democracies in setting up their own systems of government and in making innovations in parliamentary practice.
International friendship and the Commonwealth Games
The Isle of Man is a member of the Commonwealth Games Federation and it consequently participates in the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. The event plays a major role in sustaining international goodwill and friendship, and it gives athletes in the Isle of Man the chance to compete on an international stage. The Isle of Man hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011, which serves to highlight the extent to which the Island has become involved in Commonwealth activities.
Trade, economic development, and environmental sustainability
The Commonwealth has no formal trade agreements but the Island benefits from the contact that are developed throughout the Commonwealth for trading. For example, in 2011 the Isle of Man Government held an event in London entitled “Doing Business in the Commonwealth”, which was attended by representatives of various Commonwealth countries. The event provided an opportunity for the Isle of Man Government to forge contacts and prospects for closer co-operation and economic benefit with the Commonwealth Business Council. The event allowed representatives of the Island to remind larger nations that small economies can still be valuable to them. The Island is also a member of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators, which allows the Island to receive shared knowledge on effective tax administrations that promote sustainable development and good government.
The Isle of Man Government, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank, the Small States Network for Economic Development and Oxford University, has also sponsored the Small States Financial Management Programme. Participants in the programme are drawn from officials within finance ministries, central banks, and regulatory bodies in small developing countries. They benefit from access to some of the best practitioners and academics in the world, during an innovative two-week learning experience where they have the opportunity to share their own countries’ ambitions and challenges and to consider possible solutions.
Along with economic developments, the Isle of Man has also dedicated itself towards the aims of the Commonwealth to protect the environment and promote sustainability. The Island is associated with the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP), which helps to assist environmental SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) in Commonwealth nations share knowledge, increase international awareness, and facilitate trade and investment in environmental and sustainable technologies. In 2014 the Island launched the Manx Cleantech Hub as part of a growing network of hubs across the Commonwealth that seeks to promote these technologies.