37th Meeting of the Governing Council
Community of Democracies
London, UK, November 14, 2023
The Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CoD) held its 37th meeting in London, UK on November 14, 2023, at a tenuous moment for democracy around the world. Governing Council Members were pleased to welcome new members Moldova and Panama to their first Governing Council meeting. Governing Council Members discussed the resilience of democracies around the world, as well as the challenges and value of strengthening democracy through multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation. The Governing Council also had an opportunity to consider the future work of the organization and ways to maximize its strength and impact in this evolving context.
Building Resilience of Democracies: In keeping with the thematic focus under the current Canadian Presidency of the CoD, the Governing Council reflected on the urgent need to build the resilience of democracies amidst frequent and concurrent crises that continue to impact the enjoyment of human rights around the world. Democracy requires ongoing efforts to protect, foster, and strengthen it, incorporating a variety of perspectives, including those of marginalized populations and youth. Against the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is a crucial moment to increase cooperation amongst democratic partners and showcase the diversity of national realities and responses when facing threats to democracy. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that frank, inclusive, and constructive conversations around democracy are not only possible but critical for continued engagement and positive progress. Examples of democratic resilience were shown throughout the year in a series of workshops to strengthen democratic institutions, information integrity, civil society, and women’s engagement in political participation. These workshops increased cooperation, knowledge-sharing and policy expertise among CoD Members and civil society partners.
Multilateralism and Democracy: As an intergovernmental coalition constituted of states, in partnership with the Civil Society Pillar and CoD YouthLeads from all regions of the world, the CoD is keenly aware of the value of strengthening democracy through multilateral and multi-stakeholder engagement. During the meeting, the Governing Council focused on the opportunities and challenges multilateralism brings, noting that cooperation advances tangible solutions to threats affecting all democracies. This underpins the Summit for Democracy initiative, which CoD Governing Council Member the Republic of Korea will host in 2024. A well-functioning effective, inclusive, and transparent multilateral system is important for the sake of protecting rights, the rule of law, and democracy – which, in turn, support global peace and stability. The United Nations is at the heart of this system. The engagement of a broader array of actors in multilateral institutions, including emerging and transitional democracies, allows for more comprehensive responses to the most complex challenges facing us today.
Looking ahead, the Governing Council will continue to foster a new generation of democratic leaders and increase cooperation and active partnership amongst Governing Council Members, other democracies, and civil society partners to advance and safeguard democracy worldwide. At the 37th Governing Council meeting, Members reaffirmed their commitments laid out in the Warsaw Declaration, the CoD’s founding document. By upholding the Warsaw Declaration, the Governing Council Members of the CoD will continue to support free and open societies, global cooperation, and the protection and promotion of human rights for all.
 Not all Governing Council Members were present at the Summit for Democracy.