Community of Democracies

The Community of Democracies (C.O.D), established in 2000, is an intergovernmental coalition of states. Its aim is to bring together governments, civil society and the private sector in the pursuit of the common goal of supporting democratic rules, expanding political participation, advancing and protecting democratic freedoms, and strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world. The Warsaw Declaration had outlined the task of promoting democracy. It is disputed if the coalition qualifies as an International Organization in the legal sense.

Community of Democracies
Logo used since June 2018 of Community of Democracies
Logo used since June 2018
Member states of the CoD
Member states of the CoD
TypeIntergovernmental Coalition of States
Members of the Governing Council31 Members
Leaders
Executive Committee (EC)
Thomas E. Garrett
Establishment2000

HistoryEdit

The C.O.D was inaugurated at its first biennial ministerial conference hosted by the government of Poland in Warsaw on June 25 to 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. In total, 106 nations signed the declaration.[1]

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.[2]

StructureEdit

The C.O.D works on the base of the Warsaw Declaration. Since 2018, their work is more specifically guided by the Community’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2023 which identified the following strategic objectives:[3]

  • Encouraging Adherence to the Warsaw Declaration
  • Support for Democratic Consolidation in Transitioning Countries
  • Deepening the Dialogue on the Challenges to Democracy

Their internal structure include regular Ministerial Conferences, a Governing Council, a Chairmanship, a Permanent Secretariat headed by the Secretary General, six Working Groups as well as two Affiliated Bodies.

Governing CouncilEdit

Currently, the Governing Council consists of the following Member States: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay. [4]

PresidencyEdit

As of September 15th 2019, the two-year Presidency of the C.O.D is held by Romania. The current presidency has been extended by 1 year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is set to be changed in September 2022.

Past Presidencies include: South Korea (2001-2003), Chile (2003-2005), Mali (2005-2007), Portugal (2007- 2009), Lithuania (2009-2011), Mongolia (2011-2013), El Salvador (2013-2015), United States of America (2015-2017). Between Sept 2017-Sept 2019, the C.O.D was led by a collective chairmanship of the C.O.D Executive Committee.

Ministerial Conferences are 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. The conferences were held in: Warsaw 2000 (Poland), Seoul 2002 (South Korea), Santiago 2005 (Chile), Bamako 2007 (Mali), Lisbon 2009 (Portugal), Vilnius 2011 (Lithuania), Ulaanbaatar 2013 (Mongolia), San Salvador 2015 (El Salvador) and Washington D.C. 2017 (United States of America).[5]

Permanent SecretariatEdit

Since 2009, a Permanent Secretariat of the C.O.D operates in Warsaw, providing technical, logistical, organizational and administrative support to all its bodies.[6] The current head of the Permanent Secretariat and therefore Secretary General of the C.O.D is Thomas E. Garrett, appointed September 1, 2017.

Working GroupsEdit

Working Groups (WG) are action-oriented structures that drive the implementation of the strategic objectives of the Community of Democracies. WGs are composed of states, civil society representatives, and other democracy stakeholders. WG mandates are approved by the Governing Council, and they supported and coordinated by the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies. Currently, there are six Working Groups:[7]

  • Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society
  • Working Group on Women and Democracy
  • Working Group on Democracy and Technology
  • Working Group on C.O.D Governance and Effectiveness

Affiliated bodiesEdit

The C.O.D consults two external bodies on a regular basis.

Academic Advisory Board (AAB)Edit

The Academic Advisory Board assists the work of the C.O.D by providing an academic perspective.[8]

Civil Society PillarEdit

The Civil Society Pillar (also Civil Society Assembly) refers to the non-governmental process of the C.O.D, 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 26 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.[9]

Other activitiesEdit

Myanmar Constitutional Democracy ProjectEdit

In 2018, the C.O.D finalize 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 C.O.D 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.[10]

Advancing Women's Political ParticipationEdit

To support women's participation in politics, the Community of Democracies created a project called "Advancing Women's Political Participation", aiming to implement it 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.[11]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "A/70/142 - E - A/70/142". undocs.org. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  2. ^ Warsaw Declaration: Toward a Community of Democracies, Toward a Community of Democracies Ministerial Conference, Warsaw, Poland, 2000-06-27.
  3. ^ "Strategic Plan 2018-2023" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Governing Council – CoD".
  5. ^ "Presidency – CoD".
  6. ^ "Permanent Secretariat – CoD". Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  7. ^ "Working Groups – CoD". Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  8. ^ "Academic Advisory Board – CoD". Retrieved 2019-03-13.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Civil Society Pillar – CoD". Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  10. ^ "Booklet on Constitutional Democracy" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Regional Organizations, Gender Equality and the Political Empowerment of Women – CoD". Retrieved 2019-03-13.

External linksEdit