36th Governing Council Outcome Statement
36th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies
Warsaw, Poland, May 10, 2023
Adopted by: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.
Governing Council Members of the Community of Democracies (CoD) met in person for the first time since February 2020 at a time when democracy continues to face significant challenges worldwide. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable full-scale invasion of Ukraine is the most recent and egregious example. The rise of authoritarianism as well as the aftermath of the global COVID–19 pandemic continue to have significant implications for democracy and human rights. At this meeting, Members, together with representatives of the Civil Society Pillar and the CoD YouthLeads, discussed key issues including resisting authoritarianism, building the resilience of democracies, the promotion and protection of human rights, and enhancing youth civic and political engagement.
Resisting Authoritarianism: The rules-based international order is being increasingly challenged by authoritarian regimes. Foreign malign influence, information manipulation, and election-interference efforts are being aggressively conducted to sow division, weaken trust, and undermine democratic systems. In accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, noting that human rights and fundamental freedoms constitute essential foundations of democratic societies, we must continue to stand up for the Warsaw Declaration principles and support all efforts to resist authoritarianism, including arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations; transnational repression; and other repression, criminalization, intimidation, torture, disappearance, and killing of individuals.
Building Resilience of Democracies: Building the resilience of democratic governments and societies is essential to addressing the current challenges to democracy. This is only possible with the incorporation of human rights as part of our democratic identity, respecting the rule of law. Resilient societies are best able to adapt and innovate in the face of emerging issues. Policies that promote pluralism, inclusion, respect for diversity, gender equality and empowerment of women and girls and equal rights of all persons including those in marginalized groups, are central to building resilience. Furthering our common democratic principles and values must be integrated across all our efforts. As Members of the Community of Democracies, we have a shared responsibility to build resilience through strengthening cooperation, collective learning, and coordination among partners, including with civil society, including human rights defenders. The presence of strong civil society actors and organizations able to access and enjoy their rights within open, vibrant and pluralistic civic space is critical to democratic resilience, not only for their role in holding governments to account, but for their innovative contributions, and their inclusive and participatory approach to policy-making.
Youth Engagement in Public Life: Youth engagement in public life is a vital component of building resilient democracies. Civic and political participation and empowerment of youth result in tangible gains for democracy and respect for human rights, including heightened responsiveness to peoples’ needs, new and innovative mechanisms for civic and political engagement, increased cooperation across stakeholders, and greater inclusion. Governing Council Members welcomed the active engagement by the CoD’s YouthLeads representative, as well as efforts to expand the Community’s work to build a global network of young leaders dedicated to advancing democracy and respect for human rights.
Finally, Governing Council Members discussed the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it reaches its milestone 75th anniversary in 2023. Freedom, equality and justice are cornerstones of the Declaration and remain highly relevant to the Community’s mission to advance and protect democracy. Members reflected on the second Summit for Democracy and agreed that there has never been a more important time to strengthen cooperation amongst democracies and with civil society, and pursue synergies across multilateral forums, while furthering the principles of the Warsaw Declaration, to which we remain committed.
Released on 12 May 2023
 Not all Governing Council Members were present at the Summit for Democracy.