Community of Democracies
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Community of Democracies
Member states of the CoD
|Type||Intergovernmental coalition of states|
|Members of the Governing Council|
The Community of Democracies (CD) is an intergovernmental coalition of states established in 2000 to bring together governments, civil society and the private sector in the pursuit of the common goal of supporting democratic rules and strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world.
The current Secretary General of the Community of Democracies is Thomas E. Garrett, appointed September 1st, 2017.
Purpose and structure
The Community of Democracies is a global intergovernmental coalition comprised of the Governing Council Member States that support adherence to common democratic standards and values outlined in the Warsaw Declaration. Building on the Warsaw Declaration, the Community is committed to taking concerted action to advance and protect democratic freedoms, strengthen democratic institutions, and expand political participation. ===Members of CD Governing Council
- Cape Verde
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
Since 2009, a Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies operates in Warsaw, providing technical, logistical, organizational and administrative support to all the bodies of the Community.
The CD was inaugurated at its first biennial ministerial conference hosted by the government of Poland in Warsaw on June 25–June 27, 2000. The initiative was spearheaded by Polish Foreign Minister Bronisław Geremek and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, along with six co-conveners: the governments of Chile, the Czech Republic, India, Mali, Portugal and the Republic of Korea.
At the close of the conference the participating governments signed onto the Warsaw Declaration, agreeing “to respect and uphold core democratic principles and practices” including, among others, free and fair elections, freedom of speech and expression, equal access to education, rule of law, and freedom of peaceful assembly.
In closing remarks to the ministerial conference in Warsaw, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan praised the Community of Democracies as a positive development toward global democracy, saying. “When the United Nations can truly call itself a community of democracies, the Charter's noble ideals of protecting human rights and promoting "social progress in larger freedoms" will have been brought much closer."
Since the original conference in Warsaw, the chairmanship of the Community has been rotating. Ministerial Conferences were held towards the end of each presidency term in the capital of the presiding state, resulting in the adoption of a common declaration / plan of action towards the following activities of the Community: Seoul 2002[permanent dead link] (South Korea), Santiago 2005[permanent dead link] (Chile), Bamako 2007[permanent dead link] (Mali), Lisbon 2009[permanent dead link] (Portugal), Vilnius 2011[permanent dead link] (Lithuania) and Ulaanbaatar 2013 (Mongolia) and Washington D.C. 2017 (United States of America).
Civil Society Pillar
The "Civil Society Pillar" refers to the non-governmental process of the Community of Democracies, including civil society organizations, foundations, and experts devoted to promoting democracy. It is represented by the non-governmental "International Steering Committee" (ISC), which is composed of 25 leaders of civil society organizations from all regions of the world, the Chair and Vice-Chair and the organization which serves as the ISC’s secretariat. In April 2018, Fundacion Multitudes was elected as the first Permanent Secretariat of the CSP and Paulina Ibarra as Chair of the ISC. The ISC advises governments on the actions needed to enable civil society to work freely to strengthen democracy, rule of law, and protection for the fundamental rights enshrined in the Warsaw Declaration. The ISC coordinates a variety of initiatives for civil society, including the civil society forum taking place in the biannual Ministerial Conferences of the Community, which results in a set of recommendations to the Ministerial Declaration made by civil society representatives.
Within the framework of the Community of Democracies operates as well a Working Group on Protecting and Enabling Civil Society. The Working Group fosters collaboration among states, civil society and international organizations to counter, through concrete initiatives, the growing global trend towards constraining civil society organizations and restricting the space in which they can operate through legal means.
In 2018, the Community of Democracies adopted s Strategic Plan for 2018-2023, which identified the following strategic objectives for the Community
- Encouraging Adherence to the Warsaw Declaration
- Support for Democratic Consolidation in Transitioning Countries
- Deepening the Dialogue on the Challenges to Democracy
Working Groups are action-oriented structures that drive the implementation of the strategic objectives of the Community of Democracies. Working Groups are composed of states, civil society representatives, and other democracy stakeholders. Working Group mandates are approved by the Governing Council, and they supported and coordinated by the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies.
- CD Governance and Effectiveness (co-chaired by El Salvador and Sweden)
- Education for Democracy (co-chaired by Mongolia and Poland)
- Enabling and Protecting Civil Society (chaired by Canada)]
- Elections (co-chaired by Mexico and the Philippines)
- Promoting Freedom of Opinion and Expression (co-chaired by the USA and Uruguay)
- Women and Democracy (chaired by Lithuania)
Outcomes of the Working Groups (examples)
- PUBLICATION by the Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society: The Importance of Ensuring and Enabling Environment for Civil Society as it Relates to the SDGs
- PUBLICATION by the WG on the Freedom of Expression: Toolkit on the Safety for Journalists for the Personnel of Diplomatic Missions
/ Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project]===
In 2018, the CoD finalised the Phase III of the Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, implemented cooperation with Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, that aimed to facilitate an inclusive constitutional framework, through embracing all stakeholders within society and providing them with the necessary legal tools and language to engage in the process of drafting and amending it. In 2018, the CoD published a Building a Democratic Constitutional Culture in Myanmar” booklet, which contains a summary of fundamental principles and concepts of constitutional democracy with a particular focus on those most relevant to the situation in Myanmar. Together with the two constitutional democracy workshops, held in Myanmar in February 2018, the booklet constitutes an effort to increase the capacity of key stakeholders to participate in the process of democratic reforms in Myanmar, extend their knowledge on constitutional matters, as well as to contribute to the development and support of a culture of constitutionalism in Myanmar.
Advancing Women's Political Participation
To support women’s participation in politics, the Community of Democracies implemented “Advancing Women’s Political Participation” project, implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International IDEA. As part of the project, five regional consultations were held on the margins of large international democracy-related events in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Consultation brought together politicians, state officials, civil society activists, academics, and members of international and regional organizations to discuss gender equality and strategies for advancing women’s political empowerment in the MENA region. The project's five regional reports and final report contain specific policy recommendations on the advancement of women's political participation in each region.
- Atlantic Union
- Community of Democratic Choice
- Community for Democracy and Human Rights
- Council for a Community of Democracies
- GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
- United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
- “Warsaw Declaration: Toward a Community of Democracies”, Toward a Community of Democracies Ministerial Conference, Warsaw, Poland, 2000-06-27.
- Annan, Kofi (2000-06-27). UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Closing Remarks to the Ministerial (PDF) (Speech). Warsaw, Poland. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
CoD website https://community-democracies.org
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