CONTEXT: As a new wave of democratization spreads across the world, the Community of Democracies (CD) is working to support successful transitions to democracy. During the upcoming Community of Democracies 6th Ministerial in Vilnius, Lithuania, the organization will launch a new initiative, the Democracy Partnership Challenge, to encourage and support reforms in countries that have experienced recent democratic breakthroughs. The Democracy Partnership Challenge creates a global “race to the top,” which seeks to facilitate progress by leveraging the resources and expertise of countries within the CD to assist those that have demonstrated the will to democratize, but who need external support to consolidate their gains.
Moldova and Tunisia selected as the first winners of the Democracy Partnership Challenge. After a rigorous review process, Moldova and Tunisia have been selected as the countries to inaugurate the Challenge. Both have demonstrated a strong commitment to strengthening democracy, and their governments are eager to work with partners to build on their progress.
Moldova takes an introspective look at the state of its democracy. The democratic leadership of Moldova is committed to carrying out fundamental reforms which continue the country’s transition to a European democracy, including ensuring a separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and respect for human rights and freedom of the media. In its application, Moldova requested small amounts of assistance in the areas to bolster its efforts in the areas of security sector reform, government transparency, decentralization, migration policies, and judicial reform.
Tunisia looks forward and identifies areas in which small amounts of assistance will have a critical impact. The new Tunisian leadership is dedicated to essential reforms that will ensure the stability and longevity of their new democracy. In their application the Tunisians specifically sought assistance from the Community of Democracies to reform public administration, the security sector and the judiciary, support regional development, and promote the role of civil society to succeed in their transition to a democratic state.
The Community of Democracies calls upon countries to “Pay it Forward.” Two task forces are being established to channel resources and expertise to the priorities that have been designated by Tunisia and Moldova. As President Obama recently announced in Warsaw, the United States will co-chair the Moldova task force with Poland. Countries represented at the Ministerial have come through transitions of their own and each has had help in overcoming immense challenges. During the Ministerial, countries committed to the success of Moldova and Tunisia’s transitions will be asked to join the task forces, dig deep in support of these new democracies, and repay the help they have all received along the way.