Thank you, Secretary General Casas-Zamora for inviting me to speak today. And thank you to all the civil society organizations that committed time and energy to put together such a thought- provoking array of discussions. What a wonderful complement to the Summit for Democracy this week.
Through the Summit, the United States aims to strengthen our democratic institutions, honestly confront 21st century challenges to democracy, and forge a common agenda to address threats to our shared values at home and abroad.
In order to achieve these goals, we encouraged participants to make and fulfill concrete commitments in line with the Summit’s three pillars: (1) defending against authoritarianism; (2) fighting corruption; and (3) promoting respect for human rights – domestically and abroad. We look forward to the announcement of those commitments.
The December 2021 Summit will kick off a Year of Action, which will be a critical period for both confirming and finalizing commitments made at Summit One, and also, more importantly, executing on those commitments in the lead up to Summit Two.
In the upcoming 2022 “Year of Action,” our words must be matched by meaningful results across all three pillars. We will take stock of our progress and hope to show that we have risen to the challenge of this uniquely complex moment. We envision the Year of Action as a truly consultative process with Summit attendees and civil society to keep the momentum on delivering on Summit commitments heading into Summit Two. Civil society can play an invaluable role, not only in monitoring the implementation of government commitments and holding us accountable, but also advocating for new commitments for the second Summit.
This impressive gathering today shows me the energy is there to continue our partnership in the Year of Action. Delivering on the promises made during the first Summit will demonstrate that open, rights-respecting societies can work together to effectively tackle the great challenges of our time, such as democratic backsliding, corruption, the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and growing inequality.
As President Biden said, “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it.” And for the Summit to be a success, we need inclusive and meaningful participation from civil society to highlight where the international community is both succeeding and where we’re still challenged, and to share innovative approaches for how we can do better in the future.
We very much welcome and count on this partnership. I look forward to hearing the outcomes of your discussions today. Thank you.