The Commonwealth of Nations was founded in 1926 and currently has 53 Member States. Even though the head of the Commonwealth is HM Queen Elizabeth II and the organisation has its roots in the British Empire, the newest Member States of the organisation have no historic ties with the former system.
Commonwealth organisations are involved in diverse activities linked to areas such as democracy, economic development, governance, small states, social development and youth. In the domain of cyber security, the organisation focuses on capacity-building, information-sharing and on providing assistance to Commonwealth Member States in implementing a comprehensive legal framework for responding to cybercrime and acquiring cyber evidence. (See Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative, https://thecommonwealth.org/commonwealth-cybercrime-initiative) The two principal platforms for these activities are the Cyber Security Forum and the Cyber Security Initiative, which operate under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO). ((See CTO’s website: https://www.cto.int/ ))
CTO is an international organisation whose mission is to ‘[t]o provide result-focused ICT leadership in the Commonwealth and beyond.’ ((See CTO’s website: https://www.cto.int/about-the-cto/our-organisation/vision-and-mission/ )) CTO has been involved in issues related to cyber security since 2007 and since 2010 has organised the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum, which focuses on building capacity and facilitating partnerships. ((See CTO’s website: https://cto.int/events/)) Cyber security and cybercrime have been identified as one of CTO’s six focus areas in their Strategic Plan for 2012-2016. ((See CTO’s Website, CTO Strategic Plan: http://www.cto.int/about-the-cto/our-organisation/strategic-plan/)) The organisation adopted the Commonwealth Cybergovernance Model, approved by the Abuja Declaration in October 2013 and launched during the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum in London in 2014, ((See CTO’s website, Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum 2014, http://www.cto.int/events/previous-events/2014-2/cybersecurity-2014/)) which includes a list of principles intended to guide Commonwealth Member States to plan and implement practical actions in policy development, regulation, cross-border collaboration, capacity-building, technical measures and other operational activities connected to cyberspace. In April 2018, the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration was adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in which they commit to ‘build the foundations of an effective national cybersecurity response’ and ‘promote stability in cyberspace through international cooperation.’