On December 9-10, President Biden hosted the Summit for Democracy, a global gathering of heads of state, government representatives, civil society leaders, and business officials to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing democracies in the 21st century. As part of the Summit, the White House announced the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, which represents the U.S. Government’s flagship efforts to bolster democracy worldwide. In addition to its efforts to support this Presidential Initiative, the U.S. Department of State will launch complementary policy and, working with Congress, foreign assistance initiatives in some of the same thematic areas.
- Elevating anticorruption efforts. Secretary Blinken announced on December 9th the establishment of a State Department Coordinator on Global Anticorruption, who will integrate and elevate the fight against corruption across all aspects of U.S. diplomacy and State Department foreign assistance. The Coordinator, working closely with interagency and international partners, will also lead State Department implementation of the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.
- Supporting a global anticorruption rapid response fund. The Departments of State and Justice intend to deploy experienced U.S. government anticorruption experts to meet emergent needs and to build capacity in partner countries to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate corruption. This fund will also facilitate the coordination between countries on cases, assist in tracing and recovering the proceeds of corruption, and support follow-on legal and institutional reforms.
- Advancing innovative approaches to combating corruption. The Department of State, through the S. Anticorruption Solutions through Evolving Technology (ASET) project, will accelerate technological solutions to combat corruption worldwide. The Department and its partners will develop an innovation lab to engage diverse stakeholders (government, civil society, and private sector) in open collaboration for the purpose of tracking, devising, elaborating, and applying new and existing technological solutions to systemic challenges in preventing and detecting corruption.
Bolstering Democratic Reformers
- Combatting arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations.The United States will follow up on its G7 commitment to deter and end arbitrary detention by continuing to exchange information and coordinate effective responses to shared threats to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, such as arbitrary detention of a state’s citizen by another state for politically motivated purposes, including through relevant partnerships and key multilateral forums. This will be in addition to State Department’s continued campaigns for the release of political prisoners globally.
- Committing to uphold the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons. Signed by 28 governments, the Equal Rights Coalition Statement on Democracy and LGBTQI+ Human Rights affirms that democratic renewal is essential to promoting and protecting the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons. The State Department will partner with other government signatories to this Statement to support and empower the participation of LGBTQI+ persons in the full range of democratic processes, including elections; political campaigns; civil society advocacy and oversight; journalism and independent reporting; and political leadership.
- Addressing gender-based online harassment and abuse. The State Department will advance U.S. Government leadership of a Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse, in partnership with Denmark’s Tech for Democracy Initiative. This effort will unite partner countries that jointly commit to a Year of Action to improve the response to technology-facilitated gender-based violence and promote effective prevention strategies.
- Engaging sub-national leaders in renewing democracy efforts. The State Department, in conjunction with USAID, is launching a new “Mayors Delivering Democracy Daily” International Visitor Leadership Program. This program is expected to support up to 25 mayors or their designees from around the world to expand their professional skills, share ideas, and network with peers and organizations in U.S. cities.
Defending Free and Fair Elections and Political Processes
- Fostering democratic transitions. The State Department will administer a flexible, rapid response consortium of NGOs to support local efforts to consolidate democratic breakthroughs. The purpose of this Consolidating Democratic Transitions (CDT) initiative is to incorporate and protect democratic principles during fragile transition processes.
- Mitigating disinformation risks to elections. Through new Resilience Support Project (RSP) initiatives, the State Department will support allied and partner governments in detecting, exposing, and countering threats to the integrity of democratic elections from foreign-originated disinformation and propaganda campaigns. RSPs focus on delivery of research and analysis of the local information environment and potential risk to election procedures; collaboration with host-government officials to mitigate risk; and support for local civil society organizations engaged in election-related counter-disinformation activities.