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The 3rd Summit for Democracy

Press Release

Chair’s Summary of the Third Summit for Democracy
Date
2024-03-21 14:10:33
Views
1,304

 

Chair’s Summary of the Third Summit for Democracy

 

Overview
 

The Republic of Korea, together with the Kingdom of Denmark and the Republic of Kenya, co-chaired the third Summit for Democracy under the theme “Democracy for Future Generations” on March 20, 2024. 

The Summit was preceded by a Ministerial Conference and a Multistakeholder Roundtable focusing on “AI/Digital Technology and Democracy”, co-hosted by the Republic of Korea, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, and the United States on March 18. This was followed by a day dedicated to cohorts, civil society, and the youth on March 19.

Amid global concerns about the state of democracy, participants recognized that the Summit for  Democracy is a crucial platform in bringing together governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to renew their collective commitment to democracy worldwide. The Summit highlighted the significance of promoting the long-term sustainability and resilience of democracies to ensure a promising future for future generations.

The Republic of Korea anticipates that this Chair's Summary, encapsulating the three-day discussions, will contribute to the promotion of democracy as a solid foundation for freedom, peace and prosperity around the world.  


Key Messages 
 

(Technology and Democracy) Participants recognized the need to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging digital technologies to uphold democratic values and institutions, noting their potential to open new channels for participation and enhance transparency, openness, and accountability. They highlighted the need to strengthen laws and institutions to mitigate risks associated with emerging technologies that could undermine democratic values, including threats such as infringements on privacy and the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Participants also noted the need to develop technology frameworks that align with human rights and support the development of technologies that embody democratic values. Also, the role of youth in technology innovation was underscored, highlighting their significant influence on shaping democracy-upholding technologies. They also pointed out the need to use civic technology to strengthen people’s engagement in decision-making, particularly the youth, to ensure their meaningful participation in democratic processes.
 

(Youth Engagement) Participants underscored the need to strengthen efforts to ensure the meaningful inclusion of young people in democratic governance, including by reflecting their perspectives into decision-making processes. They advocated for increased support and investment so that democratic systems may enhance the free and creative capacity of young people and provide them with opportunities to enhance their political participation. Participants highlighted that governments should also give access to open and high-quality information, strengthen accountability processes to mitigate the impact of misinformation and disinformation, and promote digital media literacy among the youth.


(Freedom of the Media and Accountability) Participants emphasized the importance of maintaining an information environment that promotes pluralism and public debate, serving the public interest both offline and online. Noting the impact of rapidly evolving AI technologies on the media environment, they stressed the need to share knowledge and best practices to foster information integrity by countering disinformation threats, bolstering societal resilience, and ensuring a safe, secure, open, and free digital environment. 
 

(Anti-corruption) Participants stressed the detrimental impacts of corruption, which undermines trust in democratic institutions, the rule of law, and economic development. They highlighted the importance of international cooperation to fight corruption and the implementation of relevant international instruments, including the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). They highlighted the vital role of youth in developing and implementing anti-corruption measures for ensuring long-term integrity. They also recognized that achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an enabling factor for governments to effectively combat corruption, while efforts against corruption contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda. The role of technology in supporting anti-corruption efforts was recognized, along with the importance of enhancing collaboration on the development and use of such technologies.
 

(Countering Fake News and Disinformation) Participants recognized that the proliferation of fake news and disinformation through the utilization of AI and internet bot technology not only fuel social discord and division, but also undermine the foundations of democracy. Thus, they noted the need for the international community to establish laws and institutions aimed at sternly addressing fake news, and especially at firmly countering transnational actors seeking to manipulate elections in foreign nations. Participants also intend to foster technical cooperation to develop AI and digital systems that can identify and eradicate fake news that maliciously exploit AI and digital technologies. 
 

(Elections Integrity) Participants stressed the importance of enabling an orderly transfer of power through regular, free, and fair elections that are accessible to, and inclusive of, all eligible voters and candidates. They advocated for robust political party platforms that accommodate diverse political viewpoints, including those from young political candidates. They also emphasized the need for authorities to assess the opportunities and threats of new technologies to ensure efficient, transparent and credible election processes. 
 

(Rule of Law and Access to Justice) Participants underscored the importance of ensuring judicial independence and protecting judicial systems from undue political influence and other threats to impartiality. They advocated for eliminating barriers that hinder equal and effective access to law, and highlighted the importance of educating and engaging youth to enhance their legal literacy for meaningful engagement in judicial processes. They also pointed out that justice systems should aim to deescalate conflict, promote reconciliation and address the root causes of societal violence. 
 

(Civic Space) Participants reaffirmed that the civic space constitutes a cornerstone of functioning democracies. They emphasised the need to safeguard fundamental freedoms by cultivating an enabling environment for civil society organizations. They discussed the significance of including civil society in policymaking and policy reforms. They also pointed out the importance of protecting activists from reprisals and stigmatisation. The inclusion of youth in these discussions was highlighted for promoting a vibrant civic space. 
 

(Rights of the Disabled) Participants underscored the importance of protecting the rights of people with disabilities and ensuring their active participation in decision-making to advance inclusive democracies. They advocated for election processes to be aligned with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They also recognized the need for increased investments in civic education to enhance the engagement of people with disabilities and their representatives.
 

(Gender Equality) Participants stressed  the importance of addressing issues such as improving social awareness and providing institutional support to enhance women’s political participation. They highlighted the need for the full implementation UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. They noted engaging youth in discussions on gender equality is essential for promoting inclusive democracies. 
 

(Labour) Participants underscored the need to shape a future of work that is fair, accessible, inclusive, and secure. They also stressed the importance of promoting decent work and leveraging the benefits of AI, while addressing risks within the workplace. In this context, they highlighted the significance of engaging youth and involving them in policy decision-making processes.
 

(Partnership with the Global South) Participants recognized that democracy and development are mutually reinforcing. They pointed out the need for reforms that foster inclusive democratic institutions and practices, and empower citizens to actively participate in decision-making. They also noted that democracy spurs creativity and innovation by empowering individuals, thereby contributing to sustainable development and peace. They called for coordinated international engagement to strengthen the democratic governance of countries in the Global South.
 

Way Forward
 

Since its launch in 2021, the Summit for Democracy has been instrumental in building momentum towards global democratic renewal by bringing together governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector. The Summit process has been successfully bolstering existing multilateral and multistakeholder initiatives by catalyzing commitments and spurring actions that benefit individuals worldwide. 
 

In the lead up to the third Summit for Democracy, the Platform for Engagement of Civil Society (PEC) (PEC) – comprising the Community of Democracies, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Open Government Partnership, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - has coordinated civil society activities in support of the Summit. Inspired by this multistakeholder partnership, the Republic of Korea, along with key partner governments, intends to support the PEC to continue coordinating the ongoing work of the Summit process.  We all have a unique and important role to play to carry forward Summit for Democracy efforts – whether that is implementing commitments, expanding the work of the Democracy Cohorts, or hosting gatherings to demonstrate that allies for democracy are united in their commitment to democratic renewal.  The Republic of Korea and the Summit’s partner governments encourage and welcome other governments and stakeholders to similarly consider how they can best support future gatherings regarding the Summit for Democracy.
 

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