The Seventh Ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies (CD) took place April 27-29, 2013 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The biennial meeting is the world’s premier global gathering devoted to strengthening democracy and civil society. The U.S. delegation, headed by Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, joined representatives from approximately 110 countries including heads of government, foreign ministers, parliamentarians, civil society leaders, and Nobel laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and Tawakkol Karman.
The Ministerial Conference examined how to support democratic transitions and strengthen democracy worldwide. Plenary sessions addressed topics including open governance, political transitions, women and democracy, and threats to civil society. Breakout sessions covered issues including democracy education, combating corruption, lessons and challenges from the Arab Spring, the place of democracy in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and online and press freedom.
The Ministerial Conference marked another milestone in the CD’s transformation into a platform for innovation and action to advance democracy and strengthen civil society worldwide. As part of the CD’s efforts to respond rapidly to emerging challenges and opportunities, the meeting provided the backdrop for the launch of a range of new initiatives. These include the Asia Democracy Network, a groundbreaking effort that will bring together democracy activists and policymakers throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and a new digital platform to support democracy education worldwide.
Foreign ministers from democracies across the Asia-Pacific region convened their first-ever meeting on the margins of the Ministerial Conference and inaugurated a program of regular consultation with civil society.
During a session on the CD’s role in supporting countries undergoing transitions, Ministerial Conference participants considered expansion of the CD’s LEND Network for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies to Burma and the Kyrgyz Republic. The LEND platform was inaugurated by then-Secretary Clinton in July 2012 using technology from Google, OpenText, and Spontania. The Network connects former presidents, prime ministers, and other leaders from around the globe who provide real-time assistance to counterparts in transitioning democracies.
Late U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens received the Mark Palmer Prize in recognition of courageous diplomatic efforts to advance democracy in Libya. Acting Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Uzra Zeya accepted the award on behalf of the late Ambassador and his family.
Mongolia hosted a series of related meetings on the margins of the Ministerial Conference. These included meetings of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, the Corporate Democracy Forum, the Youth Forum, a gathering of global civil society leaders, and a women’s leadership meeting.
The event culminated Mongolia’s successful two-year role as president of the CD.