Speech for International Day of Democracy 2023, Fifteen years ago, the world came together to celebrate the first International Day of Democracy. It marked a significant moment when the United Nations officially recognized the pivotal role of democracy in preserving peace, stability, safeguarding human rights, and delivering prosperity for all citizens.
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However, these years have witnessed a troubling trend—a 16-year decline in global freedom that continues unabated. Today, a significant portion of the world’s population lives under autocratic regimes. This unsettling reality is the culmination of prolonged assaults on human rights, the consolidation of power by authoritarian leaders, and the proliferation of transnational corruption. The recent unjustified war waged by Russia against Ukraine serves as a stark reminder of the lengths to which autocrats will go to maintain and expand their dominance. It underscores the urgency of revitalizing global democracy.
The U.S. Government’s Commitment to Democracy
The United States has taken proactive steps to address this pressing issue. President Biden’s inaugural Summit for Democracy, held in December, galvanized the international community to commit to tangible actions against the most pressing threats to democracy. The United States, for its part, has increased support to emerging democracies, channeled resources to protect journalists and independent media, and actively worked to advocate democratic values and consumer rights in the realm of technology. Remarkably, over 100 world leaders made individual and collective pledges, resulting in more than 750 commitments aimed at countering authoritarianism, combating corruption, and upholding human rights. The next Summit will assess the progress made on these pledges.
The Youth Democracy Cohort Initiative(Speech for International Day of Democracy 2023)
Today, we witness the launch of an exciting initiative—the Youth Democracy Cohort, led by the European Commission, partner governments, and civil society organizations. This innovative endeavor brings together young activists with representatives from governments, civil society, and multilateral organizations. Their mission is to develop and implement Summit commitments, with a particular focus on initiatives that empower young people. This initiative recognizes the immense potential of youth in shaping the future of democracy.
USAID’s Contribution to Democratic Renewal
The urgent need for democratic renewal drives much of the work undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In Tunisia, USAID successfully engaged with 34,000 Tunisian women, encouraging them to participate in elections and make their voices heard. In the recent municipal elections, an impressive 70 percent of these women cast their votes, doubling the national average. In Eastern Europe and Eurasia, USAID is actively funding and equipping journalists with a range of tools, including digital, physical, and legal security training, along with liability coverage to counter intimidation and violence.
In Uzbekistan, USAID collaborates with national and international partners, the government, civil society, and private organizations to raise awareness about human trafficking and combat it effectively. Recognizing the devastating impact of corruption on democracy, USAID has designed a multitude of programs to bolster anti-corruption efforts, including the recently unveiled Dekleptification Guide—an invaluable resource for eradicating entrenched corruption and seizing opportunities to dismantle kleptocracy.
A Celebration of Democracy’s Values On The International Day of Democracy
As we celebrate International Day of Democracy, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to demonstrating the profound value of democracy and its ability to benefit all members of society. Free and democratic nations nurture healthier, more prosperous citizens, minimize violent conflicts, and uphold human dignity. Through our democracy assistance initiatives, we are resolute in our pursuit of a world that is more inclusive, equitable, and peaceful.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the International Day of Democracy?
International Day of Democracy, celebrated worldwide, highlights the significance of democracy in promoting peace, protecting human rights, and delivering prosperity.
What was the key focus of the inaugural Summit for Democracy?
The inaugural Summit for Democracy called upon the global community to take concrete actions against threats to democracy, with a particular emphasis on countering authoritarianism, combating corruption, and upholding human rights.
What is the role of the Youth Democracy Cohort initiative?
The Youth Democracy Cohort initiative brings together young activists and representatives from various sectors to develop and implement commitments aimed at empowering young people and fostering democratic values.
How has USAID contributed to democratic renewal?
USAID has played a crucial role in fostering democratic renewal by engaging with communities, supporting journalists, combating human trafficking, and developing anti-corruption programs.
Why is democracy essential for a better world?
Democracy cultivates healthier, more prosperous societies, reduces conflicts, and upholds human dignity, making it an essential component for a better world.