Empowering Community of Democracies: Asian civil society prepares for 2015 Ministerial Conference

In little over six months from now, in July 2015, the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies will take place in San Salvador concluding the CD’s Presidency of El Salvador. As with every Ministerial Conference, the meeting in San Salvador will also host the civil society forum, a gathering of dozens of representatives of the Community’s civil society pillar who make special recommendations to the convening governments.
In order to prepare for the meeting of the forum, and to identify in advance areas for development and improvement for the Community, civil society organizations from Asia gathered at the “Empowering Community of Democracies” conference in Seoul, discussing and evaluating various aspects of the Community’s work.The conference was organized by two key partners of the Community of Democracies in Asia: the Asia Democracy Network and the East Asia Institute. It was held with the participation of representatives of the Community of Democracies and its International Steering Committee, as well as representatives of leading international organizations.
The conference included a variety of panels related to the working areas of the Community: democracy support, freedom of opinion and expression, education for democracy, elections, enabling and protecting civil society, and more. During the discussions, panelists and the audience suggested various opportunities that can be explored by the Community to further develop and consolidate its work. Participants encouraged the Community to engage in deeper dialogue with regional organizations; work with field-specific initiatives (such as A-WEB for elections); include the participation of political parties and international alliances at the Ministerial Conferences; and further develop its work on education for democracy and on democracy and development.
“This meeting is of particular importance for us”, said Communications Officer of the Community of Democracies’ Permanent Secretariat, Daniel Slomka, on a panel of CD Governance and Effectiveness. “The Republic of Korea is a member of the Governing Council, the second Ministerial Conference of the Community took place here in Seoul, and the Asia Democracy Network was launched during the seventh Ministerial Conference of the Community, last year in Ulaanbaatar.”
“This conference has brought up a series of extremely interesting and constructive suggestions, and we will look deeply into them to see how they can be incorporated into the work of the Community of Democracies”, summarized Ambassador Maria Leissner, the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies. “The support and engagement of organizations such as the Asia Democracy Network is crucial for the functioning of the Community. We therefore thank you very much for this wonderful and important initiative, and count on close cooperation in the near future.”

More pictures from the conference are available on the Community's Flickr page