Background and benefits


The global database on donation and transplantation estimates that there were over 135,000 organs transplanted in 2016.

This gift of life came from the generosity of thousands of living donors (most commonly through the donation of a kidney) and from nearly 35,000 deceased organ donors.

Yet organ failure and the need for transplantation remains high in all nations. Such unmet need can lead to the death of those on the transplant waiting list or commercially driven transplantation to the detriment of both organ donors and recipients.

Meeting the need

A number of international resolutions and declarations have called on each country to strive toward self-sufficiency in organ donation and transplantation. However, as yet no country has achieved this ambition.

The rate of donation varies from zero donors in some Commonwealth nations to over 20 per million population in countries like Australia, Canada, Malta and the UK.

We face common challenges to increase rates of donation across all social groups, ethnicities and religions, and believe more can be done to share knowledge and expertise using the historical ties and established relationships of our Commonwealth citizens and governments.

The benefits to Commonwealth nations

Gaining of knowledge

Gaining of knowledge through the sharing of guidelines, protocols, teaching materials, mentorship and training via self-funded sabbaticals.

Supporting progress

Supporting progress in those nations where organ transplantation exists to higher levels, but where there is continued unmet need in more ethnically diverse communities.

Exploring potential

Exploring the potential for commencing transplantation in countries where it does not exist.

Encouraging citizens

Encouraging commonwealth citizens to participate in activities related to their country of historical origin, and also share with them success stories from their country of origin.

Protecting vulnerable Commonwealth citizens

Protecting vulnerable Commonwealth citizens against illegal and unethical transplantation.

Saving and transforming the lives of thousands

With Commonwealth nations working together to share knowledge and expertise around organ and tissue donation and transplantation, we can save and transform the lives of thousands of patients.

More about the project

Image of Commonwealth flags copyright of the Commonwealth Secretariat.