Message by the Secretary General Thomas E. Garrett on the 22nd Anniversary of the Community of Democracies and the Warsaw Declaration

June 27, 2022

Today, on June 27, 2022, we celebrate 22 years since the adoption of the Warsaw Declaration by over 100 nations.

Since 2000, the Community of Democracies has been providing a platform for dialogue and cooperation between young and established democracies from different parts of the world, serving as a unique multilateral body based not on  economic, geographical, or cultural criteria but the commitment to shared democratic values outlined in the Warsaw Declaration. Twenty-two years on, these values still provide a roadmap for countries aspiring to democracy and a checklist for functioning democracies.

Free and fair elections, press freedom, access to independent information, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention are some of the 19 Warsaw Declaration principles that constitute a healthy democratic landscape.

Today, these values are increasingly challenged in democracies across the world. Along with various internal factors, democratic governments face complex global issues, including the rise of authoritarianism and the engagement of authoritarian regimes in activities threatening or undermining democracy. These challenges can be effectively addressed if democracies continue working together through multilateral gatherings and platforms, sharing experiences, and identifying new ways to promote and protect democracy. Mutual support and democratic solidarity are essential. It’s also important to recognize the critical role played by a vibrant, pluralistic civil society and the free media in strengthening democracy and holding governments accountable.

At a recent event at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk that discussed 1989-2022: The Time of Breakthroughs, we commemorated the Community of Democracies co-founders: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek. It’s crucial to recall Geremek’s words that ‘democracy doesn’t always move from triumph to triumph’ and Secretary Albright’s warning: ‘We cannot secure our future without democracy. But democracy’s future is not secure. And so our job this week is to create a work-plan for cooperation among democracies and democrats worldwide.’

Twenty-two years after its inception, the Community of Democracies will continue to support cooperation among democratic leaders by providing a multi-stakeholder forum for dialogue, experience sharing, and joint diplomatic action.