On December 9, President Biden opened the first-ever Summit for Democracy, a forum for leaders from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing democracies in the 21st century. Through the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, the U.S. Department of State will launch 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.
To advance these priorities, the State Department will undertake the following programs and initiatives, working with Congress and subject to the availability of appropriations.
Supporting Free and Independent Media
- The State Department will provide up to $3.5 million to establish a Journalism Protection Platform, which will provide at-risk journalists with digital and physical security training, psychosocial care, legal aid, and other forms of assistance. And the U.S. Government will increase its engagement with the Media Freedom Coalition, an intergovernmental partnership working to advocate for media freedom and the safety of journalists worldwide.
- The State Department, joined by other donors, will build on its support for the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium (GACC) by providing up to $6 million to enhance the GACC’s work to connect media and civil society organizations with one another, expose ill-gotten gains, and support legal or policy changes in support of anti-corruption objectives.
- The State Department, working with the Departments of Treasury and Justice, will provide up to $15.1 million to launch the Democracies Against Safe Havens Initiative, which will work to build the capacity of partner governments to deny corrupt actors the ability to hide ill-gotten gains through anti-money laundering measures, to encourage like-minded partners to adopt anti-corruption sanctions and visa restriction regimes, and to detect and disrupt complex corruption schemes.
- The State Department will provide up to $6.5 million to establish a Global Initiative to Galvanize the Private Sector as Partners in Combatting Corruption, to energize and institutionalize existing public sector anti-corruption engagement with the business community.
Bolstering Democratic Reformers
- The State Department and USAID will provide up to $33.5 million to launch the Advancing Women’s and Girls’ Civic and Political Leadership Initiative, which will help facilitate the full and safe exercise of women’s rights and representation.
- The State Department will provide up to $5 million to launch the Global LGBTQI+ Inclusive Democracy and Empowerment (GLIDE) Fund, a new program under the Global Equality Fund that will facilitate the participation and leadership of LGBTQI+ community members in democratic institutions.
- The State Department will provide additional funding to Lifeline: Embattled CSOs Assistance Fund, a multilateral initiative which supports civil society organizations under threat as a consequence of their democracy and human rights work with emergency financial assistance and rapid response advocacy and resiliency grants.
- The State Department will provide up to $1 million to establish the Bridging Understanding, Integrity, and Legitimacy for Democracy (BUILD) Initiative, which will lay the groundwork for providing career professionals in closed political spaces the skills and resources to navigate democratic openings when they occur.
- The State Department, in partnership with the Department of Labor and USAID, will set up a Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights (M-POWER), which will help workers around the world claim their rights and improve wages and conditions by strengthening democratic and independent worker organizations and supporting labor law reform and enforcement.
Advancing Technology for Democracy
- The State Department will provide up to $4 million to launch a new Multilateral Surge and Sustain Fund for Anti-Censorship Technology that will support critical censorship circumvention technology platforms, connecting more users to the uncensored internet and sustaining these connections in times of greatest need.
- The State Department, working with the White House, Commerce Department, and likeminded partners, will launch an Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative, in which participating governments will work together to determine how export control tools could better monitor and, as appropriate, restrict the proliferation of such technologies.
- The State Department will work to strengthen the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), a multi-stakeholder effort to support Internet freedom and promote human rights online.
Cross-Cutting Rapid Response Programs
- The State Department will create a Fund for Democratic Renewal (FDR), a flexible, rapid-response fund to work collectively and collaboratively to support partners working on democracy’s front lines.