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Commonwealth govts must agree to global trade deal: Lord Paul

By H S Rao in London
Last updated on: March 11, 2008 12:44 IST
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Commonwealth governments should respond to the needs of people by agreeing to a global trade deal and tackling climate change -- the 'greatest threat' to mankind, Lord Swraj Paul, leading NRI industrialist, has said.

"The Commonwealth is relevant, and credible. It delivers. It is dynamic and innovative, as must be the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association," the British Ambassador for Overseas Business said addressing a parliamentary delegation from Isle of Man.

Paul, who will soon lead a British Parliamentary delegation to India, said: "The CPA wants Commonwealth governments to respond to the needs of people -- to build communities, to address the challenges arising from the growth of urbanisation, to agree a global trade deal and to tackle the greatest threat to us all -- climate change."

Noting that the Commonwealth is more than a talk shop, the chairman of the Caparo group said 'its influence and power comes from a moral authority and its teeth enable it to suspend members, and to work away to achieve the change the standards required.'

Observing that the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has been developed to enforce its values, he said the 53-member body has been successful in encouraging and developing democracy in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

"There remains more work to be done in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Fiji, but the pressure is on," Paul said on Monday night. 

Lord Paul said the CPA has much to contribute to multi-party parliamentary democracy in developing Commonwealth countries.

He said the Commonwealth has opened its doors to new members -- Mozambique and soon-to-be Rwanda, and there are more in the pipeline.

"With over 170 branches representing every Commonwealth legislature, big and small, the CPA must advance into the 21st century, adapting and evolving, ensuring that it too remains credible and relevant so that it can deliver the parliamentary democracy that every Commonwealth country deserves and needs," Lord Paul said.

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H S Rao in London
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