European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) and its members, including Demo Finland, have released a joint statement concerning the global Summit for Democracy.
The global Summit for Democracy represents an opportunity for partners across the globe to reaffirm the importance of democratic governance after 15 years of democratic decline. Given the internal challenges facing democracies of all stripes and the challenges on the international stage, the time is ripe for reflection and for action.
The challenges facing democracies are multi-faceted and several have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Democratic space has been closing in states around the world, including within the European Union itself.
While Summit planning is still in the early stages, it has already generated important debates on international cooperation in support of democracy. This is welcome and can provide the boost needed to existing strategies while helping to forge new international alliances. European governments and non-state actors should play a constructive role in these debates alongside partners from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
We believe the Summit has the potential for supporting real democratic change, focusing minds on specific priorities and setting the stage for increased commitments. The organisation of the Summit also brings up a number of key questions that have a bearing on its eventual success and impact. What issues should be addressed? Where will it be held? Will it be a one-off event? Who should be invited? All of these questions are perfectly valid considerations for the international community to consider in particular because it is vital that the Summit process does no harm to efforts to support democracy. The credibility of the Summit rests on a shared commitment to addressing the challenges facing democracy everywhere.
In this spirit, we recommend that European governments, the European Union institutions and our non-state partners:
- Support the preparation of a Summit declaration that both recognises the challenges to democracy and puts in place a number of concrete commitments
- Ensure that the Summit is part of a wider campaign of greater international cooperation on democracy support
- Already prepare follow-up to the Summit
- Avoid the temptation to limit the Summit to one particular policy area or key component of democratic governance
- Prioritise inclusion of a wide diversity of actors from across the world
Download the full statement with recommendations here.