Commonwealth women's summit in Apia closes

The Pacific's Commonwealth countries are being promised toolkits and legal templates to help them implement global targets set for development.

RNZ reports Women's Affairs Ministers from around the Commonwealth have ended their gathering in Samoa stressing the need to work together on the Sustainable Development Goals set at the UN a year ago.

The SDGs, as they are known, aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said the Secretariat was already looking at an office for civil and criminal justice reform for all Commonwealth countries to draw from.

"That's where the collective I think is going to make a real difference going forward because none of our 53 countries have to feel this is a journey they have to undertake on their own and they're all committed to helping each other."

Baroness Scotland said countries have been saying they have lots of legislation to get through, with limited staff and funds.

She said Commonwealth-devised legal templates could act as a baseline for countries to work from, particularly in non-contentious areas.

"We've been listening very carefully to what member states have said and they have made it clear they want to share best practice," she said.

"They want to share the newest innovations and they want an opportunity to work more closely together on this agreed agenda."

Another plan is to provide more so-called Bench Books for judges in the various Commonwealth regions.

The first such legal resource was launched in East Africa in June this year, to help judges make the right decisions, and promote a greater understanding of violence against women.


Photo; Twitter/Commonwealth Sec