Secretary General’s welcome remarks at the 32nd CoD Governing Council

November 23, 2020


Thank you, Foreign Minister Aurescu, for your kind remarks and for the leadership given by Romania to the Community of Democracies during this challenging year.

As you mentioned, the pandemic required us all to adapt and I thank the hard-working staff of the Permanent Secretariat for their skilled transition to the new realities required to implement the agenda in support of democracy, human rights and the rule of law set for the Community of Democracies by the Governing Council at the beginning of this year.

Those tasks established by the Governing Council included furtherance of youth empowerment,  women’s political engagement and their vital role in peacebuilding, support to continued progress of Sustainable Development Goal 16+, and  countering malign interference in democracy.

We had new tasks, such as stating democracy’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic through renewed adherence to the Warsaw Declaration’s principles.

Thank you for your presence today – In our two sessions of this Governing Council meeting, we will seek your guidance and thoughts on possible changes to the terms of Presidency of the Community of Democracies.

Possible changes to the process by which invitations are made for the Ministerial Conference.

Listen to an on the ground report from Mali on the situation there following the removal of the democratically elected government

And inform you of the status of the third round of the Governing Council Membership renewal process this winter and spring.

In closing, let me thank you, the Members of the Governing Council, for your support to the Permanent Secretariat in 2020.  Many of the governments represented here today expressed to me the difficult changes required to protect their citizens, their economies, their democracies as the pandemic struck.

We expected to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Declaration at the 10th Ministerial last June.

Those plans, like so many others, had to change.  But the Governing Council’s Bucharest Anniversary Statement on democracy’s response to the pandemic I think was a striking way to mark the timelessness of the Warsaw Declaration, to show it remains as relevant today as 20 years ago when it was adopted by 106 nations.

Thank you and I look forward to our work together today and tomorrow.