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The Summit for Democracy: A Menu of Commitments

With planning for the global summit for democracy well underway, numerous governments and democracy supporters around the world are reflecting on what they would like the summit to achieve. The Biden administration has clearly indicated that they expect concrete commitments to arise from the summit that they will host at the end of 2020, and it seems likely that invitations to the summit will be linked to a set of commitments by participants.

Nevertheless, at present, there is a startling lack of discussion on these potential commitments in the public domain. The impact and success of the summit depends on carefully considered commitments with serious thought about them taking place before, during and after the summit. From our discussions with various government officials and democracy practitioners in recent months, it appears as though many are asking the same questions: What commitments can be made? What commitments do governments want from their peers? How can commitments be followed up?

As a consequence, we have come together as a grouping of democracy support organisations to offer a series of ideas for commitments that would help to make the summit for democracy a success. These are by no means an exhaustive set of ideas, but they offer a menu for governments, civil society and the private sector. We believe all of these potential commitments would be beneficial for democracy around the world. 

This “Menu of Commitments” provides guiding principles for establishing commitments for the summit and offers potential commitments for states over several thematic areas such as cooperation at the international level, national structures for supporting democracy, democratic practice, foreign policy and international development, democratic backsliding and autocratisation, digital policy, corruption, and monitoring and follow up. These 41 commitments are intended to spark a conversation and aid decision-makers in ensuring the success of the summit for democracy.