On December 9-10, 2021, President Biden hosted the first of two Summits for Democracy, a global gathering of 100 government leaders, hundreds of members of civil society, and the business community, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing democracies in the 21st century. At the Summit, the U.S. Government announced that the time between leaders’ gatherings would constitute a Year of Action, during which the United States would work with partners to advance the commitments they made to one another to strengthen democracy, promote respect for human rights, and counter corruption and authoritarianism.
As Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of its democratic neighbor Ukraine illustrates, defending democracy, contesting authoritarianism, and standing up for the human rights of all have never been more important to international peace and prosperity.
Throughout the Year of Action, the U.S. Government will therefore encourage structured dialogue and action among governments and other stakeholders to advance commitments and initiatives announced by world leaders, and to report back on their progress at the second Summit.
To help facilitate progress and advance the Summit’s themes, the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other interagency partners will support a series of consultative processes that aim to:
- support governments in making verifiable progress on their commitments;
- institutionalize Summit themes and commitments into existing platforms;
- craft a Summit outcome document; and
- develop an inclusive agenda for the second Summit.
Across these efforts, the Department of State and USAID will engage with U.S. government interagency partners at the Departments of Labor, Treasury, Justice, and Commerce, as well as other relevant stakeholders.
To achieve its objectives, the U.S. Government will:
- Establish a Platform for Governments and Authorities to Advance Summit Goals: We will create a Focal Group as an opportunity to engage collaboratively with our Summit government and official partners in the lead-up to the second Summit. The U.S. government will coordinate the group and chair meetings; other focal points will be invited to participate in meetings and may lead working groups on specific aspects of planning.
- Build Multistakeholder Processes for Collaboration on Summit Goals: We will launch multistakeholder platforms, called Democracy Cohorts, to take concerted action toward commitment implementation in areas of common interest. Each Democracy Cohort will bring together governments that demonstrate political will toward progress on Summit commitments in a specific issue area with key nongovernmental stakeholders invested in the outcome. The process will provide opportunities for meaningful dialogue and collaboration among civil society representatives, private sector leaders, philanthropic partners, and government decision-makers on issues vital to good governance and democratic renewal. The U.S. Government will co-lead a limited number of cohorts and will welcome other governments and civil society groups volunteering to spearhead additional cohorts.
- Engage Diverse and Expansive Nongovernmental Stakeholders: The U.S. Government will continue to hold informal, recurring consultations with a broad swath of nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, and the private sector to discuss fulfillment of our Summit One commitments, as well as Year of Action and Summit Two plans. Other governments are strongly encouraged to hold their own, regular consultations with nongovernmental stakeholders.
- Tell the Story of Democracies Delivering: The U.S. Government will spotlight and support examples of democracies delivering for citizens through messaging and public diplomacy programs, as well as highlight progress that countries make on their Summit commitments.
- Support the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal: In the coming year, the U.S. government is planning to provide up to $424.4 million, working with Congress and subject to the availability of funds, toward the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, a landmark set of policy and foreign assistance initiatives that build upon the U.S. government’s significant, ongoing work to bolster democracy and defend human rights globally. We will also continue to explore opportunities to align resources outside of the Presidential Initiative with Summit themes, and to discuss coordination and alignment of Summit-related foreign assistance with other donors and multilateral organizations.
- Expand Congressional Outreach and Subnational Engagement: The U.S. Government will engage its own domestic leaders outside of the executive branch and will encourage other participating governments to similarly undertake a whole-of-government approach to advancing the Summit’s themes. As part of this effort, we will also continue to engage, and seek to expand, partnership with the U.S. Congress on the Summit. In addition, the United States will encourage and participate in multilateral efforts to build momentum, such as by supporting the Mayors’ Initiative established at Summit One, and the expanded efforts of the House Democracy Partnership.
Through these efforts, we hope to inspire and support the flourishing of democracy around the world. But these plans are not exhaustive. Other interested stakeholders are encouraged to supplement U.S. government-led initiatives with their own efforts to promote democratic renewal, advance human rights, and counter corruption and authoritarianism in pursuit of a more just, secure, and peaceful world.