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The 3rd Summit for Democracy

Civil Society and Youth Event


Following the first and second Summit for Democracy, Democracy Cohorts have contributed to important outcomes by following-up on and scaling-up existing commitments and establishing concrete recommendations for the future. The Democracy Cohorts have ensured that key topics remain part of the Summit process and have identified new opportunities, reinvigorated existing work and galvanized new efforts.

Since their establishment, many Democracy Cohorts achieved concrete deliverables. Cohort co-leads, present at the third Summit for Democracy in Seoul and around the world, presented some outcomes of their cohort work and invited all stakeholders – governments, civil society, academia and the private sector – to support concrete recommendations for democratic renewal beyond the third Summit for Democracy.


The Cohort on Youth Political and Civic Engagement was established to take meaningful action toward implementing Summit for Democracy commitments on youth political and civic engagement through resources, expertise, research, activities, and achievements. The cohort is led by Costa Rica, Ghana, Nepal, the European Commission and the European Partnership for Democracy, Africtivistes, International IDEA and the European Democracy Youth Network.

A menu of possible commitments1 and a Youth Participation Handbook2 were finalized for the second Summit. To make further progress on objectives and expected outcomes after the second Summit, the cohort provided small grants to civil society organisations from the Global South to promote the menu of commitments, advocate for their adoption, and assess their implementation at national or regional level. The cohort also developed a programme of ten young and engaged Youth Democracy Cohort ambassadors and established a Young Researchers’ Network to bring together a diverse group of international young scholars and democracy support practitioners to foster cross-regional and cross-disciplinary exchanges on the topic of youth participation in democracies across the world.


The Cohort on Gender equality as a pre-requisite for democracy was established to highlight and promote the connection between gender equality and democracy and to develop policy recommendations to bolster women’s participation in and contribution to democracy3 . The cohort is led by Sweden, Romania and International IDEA.

To sustain the efforts to sustain gender equality on the global agenda for democracy, the Cohort on Gender equality organized a post-Summit event in May 2023. The event highlighted the importance and good practices for advancing gender equality as a prerequisite for democracy in the post-Summit context.


The Cohort on Elections Integrity was established to provide training and capacity building programmes to Election Management Bodies (EMBs) across the world and technical consultancy as per needs of other EMBs. The cohort is led by Greece, India, Mauritius and IFES.

The Election Integrity Cohort has been working on developing guidelines for social media companies to promote electoral integrity and combat the spread of mis/disinformation. The Election Commission of Nepal and Election Commission of India are both actively involved and held an event adjacent to the Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum in December in Kathmandu, attended by all participating Election Management Bodies from Asia. Moreover, the Election Integrity Cohort, along with Transparency International, International IDEA, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Coalition Secretariat, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) Center for Anti-Corruption and Democratic Trust have prepared a Joint Statement with over 100 signatures5 calling for States Parties to adopt enhanced political finance transparency considerations.


The Cohort on Resisting Authoritarian Pressure was established to build resilience to authoritarian coercion and offer a hand to democrats and human rights defenders from non-democracies. During the second Summit, the cohort launched the Declaration of Principles to Combat Transnational Repression6. The cohort is led by Lithuania, Freedom House and the Alliance of Democracies.

Since its launch at the second Summit, the declaration has been endorsed by 9 governments. The cohort has also supported the formation of a Coordination Group to Counter Transnational Repression, assembling 30+ members across three continents from NGOs and experts for joint advocacy. The Coordination Group to Counter Transnational Repression is focused on delivering actionable recommendations to policymakers, evidenced by its influence in legislative processes and its contribution to groundbreaking research on transnational repression’s impact, including on exiled journalists and academic freedom. In November 2023, the Lithuanian government, as part of the work of the cohort, held the third Future of Democracy Forum in Vilnius bringing together high-level politicians, diplomats, think-tank members, academics, and democracy activists to discuss the most pressing challenges posed by authoritarianism and complementing other initiatives supporting democracy activists who found refuge in Lithuania. The cohort has continued in the past year to focus on activities related to sheltering human rights defendants in exile; seeking release of political prisoners; countering transnational oppression; and the role of economic coercion efforts.


The Cohort on Information Integrity was established to discuss, collect and promote best practices on strengthening a healthy information space and information integrity and reinforcing democracy. The cohort is led by Canada, Latvia and the Alliance for Securing Democracy.

In October 2023, the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (ASD at GMF) published a report “The Summit for Democracy Cohort on Information Integrity”7 which focuses on the outcomes of the Summit for Democracy Cohort on Information Integrity, which was co-led by Canada, Latvia and ASD at GMF. This report reflects and builds upon the deliverables that the cohort prepared for the purposes of the Second Summit for Democracy. As part of the cohort’s work and combining experiences and expertise across sectors and geographies, four Working Groups were set up, each delving into an issue of importance and timeliness in the effort towards strengthening and defending information integrity.


The Labor Rights Cohort worked to help inform the labour-rights related commitments and reforms associated with the Summit process, and fostered diplomatic engagement around labour priorities that emerge from the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights (M-POWER) initiative. The cohort is led by the US and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The labor cohort developed best practices from governments and unions for strengthening approaches to combat forced labor, which was a deliverable from the labor cohort’s roundtable on forced labor.


The Cohort on Deliberative Democracy and Citizens’ Assemblies was established to give everyday citizens a more meaningful role in public decisions through citizens’ assemblies, by bringing together a random sample of the community with a wide range of views and giving them access to a diversity of sources as well as ample time to discuss questions and concerns. The cohort aims to inform elected representatives of where informed common ground can be found around difficult trade-offs in a public decision. The cohort is led by Ireland, the European Commission and the new Democracy Foundation.

The Deliberative Democracy Cohort has continued to advocate a list of desirable draft commitments, which was developed prior to the Second Summit. Their work in 2023 and onwards builds on their start-up proposal initially made at the Second Summit. Their first suggested model of Global Citizens Democratic Deliberation builds upon the pre-existing polling methods and infrastructure to facilitate a global deliberation by random and representative samples. The second model uses the methodologies of Citizens Assemblies.


The Cohort on Disability Rights was established to support people with disabilities in participating in government institutions, public policy and legislation, providing the basis for promoting equality in all aspects of society by breaking down social stigmas and increasing accountability. The cohort is led by Australia and IFES.

During the second Summit for Democracy, the cohort developed sample commitments9 in consultation with disability rights and democracy advocates. As an outcome of the last Summit for Democracy, a Global Action on Disability (GLAD) Network10 Disability-Inclusive Democracy Working Group has been established, led by the U.S. State Department.


The Cohort on Civic Space was established to identify common commitments to strengthen support to and protection of civil society actors and civic space for democracy. The cohort is led by Norway, Czech Republic and ICNL.

The cohort developed a call to action17, which was launched during the second Summit for Democracy.


The Cohort on Financial Transparency and Integrity (FTI) was established to address deficiencies in financial systems that may enable or facilitate corruption and money laundering. The cohort is led by the U.S. and Brookings Institute, the Open Government Partnership.

Building on the Pledge and a Call to Action18 launched at the Second Summit, the cohort has continued their work focusing on three themes:1) implementation of beneficial ownership requirements; 2) transparent and accountable public procurement and; 3) addressing the professional "enablers" of corruption. More information can be found on the website of the FTO cohort19.


The Media Freedom Cohort was initially led by the governments of Canada and the Netherlands, alongside international NGO Internews. It worked to measure achieved progress on the commitments made at the first Summit for Democracy, to bridge gaps on the commitments where progress has been slower to attain, and to spark new, innovative commitments to measurably advance media freedom around the world. Its three priority areas were: (1) Protecting Journalists’ Safety & Security; (2) Advancing Freedom of Expression; and (3) Bolstering Independent and Diverse Media.Three working groups collected and generated commitments on these areas from government, civil society, media and the private sector, and built on these with recommendations for future work on media freedom. The recommendations featured in the four advisory reports of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, concerning targeted sanctions, consular support to journalists at risk, safe refuge to journalists at risk, and promoting more effective investigations into abuses against journalists.


The Cohort for Anticorruption policies as a guarantee for national security, stability and sovereignty was established to build an informal alliance between States with comparable problems by identifying challenges and overviewing the approaches to overcome them across five topics relating to national anticorruption policies. The cohort is led by Bulgaria and the Basel Institute.

In accordance with its Year of Action Summit for Democracy commitments, in the past year, the Bulgarian Government has delivered tangible results by adopting robust anti-corruption and judicial-reform legislative package that includes the Whistleblower Protection Act (January 2023) and the Anti-Corruption Act (September 2023) which established new Anti-Corruption Commission with vested investigative functions. Key amendments were introduced to the Constitution, the Judiciary Act, and the Criminal Procedure Code, which set up an effective regime for accountability and criminal liability of the Prosecutor General and his/her deputies. Amendments to the Public Procurement Act improving transparency in the procurement of media services were also adopted. The Ministry of Justice made significant progress on finalizing a concept note for regulating lobbying activities, prepared in active collaboration with a broad group of public stakeholders and civil society organizations. With the support of the cohort co-lead the Basel Institute on Governance, Bulgaria has enhanced its institutional capacity to identify and investigate corruption by successfully delivering several structured training modules to investigation authorities and adding seven online course curriculums. The Bulgarian Government continued to expand its cooperation with international partners, regional and local civil society organizations, and the private sector by launching multiple joint initiatives including several with the cohort co-leads the Basel Institute on Governance and/or the Centre for the Study of Democracy : an international policy forum in March2023 titled “Anti-Corruption and National Security”; an international event in October 2023 on “Strengthening Transparency and Governance through Collective Action,” and in November 2023, the international forum "Anti-Corruption, Democratic Resilience and Economic Security", featuring Bulgaria’s support for the European efforts to build a new democratic framework for anti-corruption and economic security, including sanctions enforcement. In February 2024, Bulgaria signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transparency International, adding to the pool of civil society organizations that strive to enhance good governance. Realizing the significant risk corruption poses to global security and democratic resilience, Bulgaria took the lead in highlighting corruption as a major concern at the 2024 Munich Security Conference, with Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov’s address during a dedicated panel focusing on the need to unite global efforts against corruption enablers.