Message by the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy

September 15, 2014

Today the world marks the International Day of Democracy, for the seventh time since it was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2007. Secretary General of the Community, Ambassador Maria Leissner, greets you on the occasion.

Dear Friends,
Today the world marks the International Day of Democracy, for the seventh time since it was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2007.

The Community of Democracies partners with the United Nations in official celebrations of the International Day of Democracy in New York. The event, co-organized by the Community together with the UN, UNDEF, the Inter-Parliamentarian Union and International IDEA, will take place at the International Peace Institute under the title “Engaging Young People on Democracy”, with invited youth speakers from El Salvador, Afghanistan and Morocco.

In times of a global recession of democracy, it is more vital than ever to reach out to young people. The Arab Spring, as well as all people-driven democratic change, show the dedication, the innovative thinking and the energy of young people as democratic actors. At the same time, political parties and other established democratic institutions often have difficulties engaging young people and winning their confidence, as shown by many surveys. Democracy can not be taken for granted, as recent global developments show. Every new generation has to be won for democratic ideals.

The Community of Democracies thus gives special attention to engaging youth in democracy through our Youth Dimension. At each Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies a Youth Forum is organized, offering a possibility to present recommendations to the highest levels of governmental representatives, including prime ministers. The CD Working Group on Education for Democracy and the Council for a Community of Democracies conduct projects to promote education for civic participation among youth and monitor implementation of the CD-initiated UN Resolution on Education for Democracy. Our LEND Network (Leaders Engaged in New Democracies), also focuses on the issue of youth engagement in democracy.

The Community has been excited part of some of the important positive developments in the field of democracy in the year of 2014:

A dialogue has begun with the new, democratically elected, Government of Ukraine on the initiation of a Democracy Partnership in the country. Prior to that, Moldova graduated from a teo-year Democracy Partnership with the Community of Democracies, now well prepared and set to join the international community regionally and globally as a well functioning democracy.

Several of our Governing Council’s Member States have organized peaceful and succesful elections during the year, among them the world's largest democratic elections in India, serving as a global role model.

Tunisia captivated the world with its peaceful and consensual adoption of the new constitution, where the Community of Democracies through our Democracy Partnership and the LEND network has been able to provide support, sharing of experiences and training.

A new member – Guatemala – joined the Community’s Governing Council, reaffirming the country’s successful road to democracy and the general strength of the democratization process in Latin America.

Mali has during the year successfully regained constitutional order and democratic legitimacy after the military coup last year, and we hope to welcome them back in the Community very soon.

All these success stories show that despite the increasing challenges, democracy is still accepted globally as the only legitimate form of government; the only political system that is able to protect human rights, reflect the will of its citizens,  bring about sustainable development and create conditions for peace and stability. These are the truths that inspire us to maintain our diverse Community, to welcome those willing to join us, and to help those facing oppression in their home countries. The Community vows to continue to pro-actively use all of its available means to help democracies around the world.

The Community of Democracies greets you on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, and this year, in light of the Day’s annual theme, we recognize the world’s young population in particular. The spirit of youth and its power to mobilize and to stand for what is good and right, are the wind under the wings of democracy. Happy International Day of Democracy!
With best wishes,
Ambassador Maria Leissner,
Secretary General of the Community of Democracies