NGO International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies Meets During WMD Conference in Istanbul
9 May 2006; Click here for the full minutes (PDF)

The occasion of the WMD Conference in Istanbul was used to convene two meetings of the newly established “International Steering Committee” of the Community of Democracies (CD), a civil society policy making body for this inter-governmental organization. The meetings were chaired by Oumar Malakou, President of the Executive Secretariat for the Non-Governmental Process of CD, located in Bamako, Mali site of the Fall 2007, Ministerial CD Conference at which over 100 countries’ Ministers and civil society representatives are expected to be present. The meetings were organized by the Council for a Community of Democracies, represented at the WMD Conference by its President, Dick Rowson and Executive Director Bob LaGamma.

In attendance (in addition to Oumar Makalou, Chair) at the International Steering Committee meetings representing five global regions were:

  • Augustine Cisse, Roel von Meijenfeldt and Marieke van Doorn, Institute for Multi-Party Democracy, Mali and the Netherlands
  • Ayesha Imam, African Democracy Forum, Nigeria
  • Bo Tedards and Michael Kau, Taiwan Democracy Foundation
  • Bob LaGamma, Council for a Community of Democracies, USA
  • Yuri Dzhibladze, Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights
  • Dieudonne Zognong, Governance Alert, Cameroon
  • Gus Miclat, Initiatives for International Dialogue, Philippines
  • Ivan Doherty, National Democratic Institute, USA
  • John French, Westminster Democracy Foundation
  • Maiga Djingarey, NGO Executive Secretariat, Mali
  • Paul Graham, Institute for Democracy in South Africa, South Africa
  • Penelope Faulkner, Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, France
  • Riad Malki, Panorama Center – Center for the Dissemination of Democracy & Community Development, Palestine
  • Richard C. Rowson, Council for a Community of Democracies, USA
  • Ryota Jonen, World Movement for Democracy, USA
  • Ted Piccone, Claudia Caldeirinha & Doki Fassihian, Democracy Coalition Project
  • Vo Van Ai, Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Vietnam

Among the actions taken by the International Steering Committee, were:

1. A call on the Convening Group governments of the Community of Democracies to work together in the General Assembly on the occasion of the elections to the newly established Human Rights Council, May 9, to elect Governments that have shown a clear commitment to and respect for human rights, both at the national and international level

2. Community of Democracies Website: The African Democracy Forum will provide support through Kabissa for the transfer and hosting of the site by the Executive Secretariat for the Non-Governmental Process of CD.

3. As the WMD has expressed increasing concern for restrictions being placed on the receipt of cross-border assistance for NGO’s in some member countries of the CD, the Warsaw and Seoul Declarations should be invoked as a basis for a condemnation of such restrictions. Yuri Dzhibladze was asked to draft a statement for electronic circulation and endorsement by the ISC.

4. Tracking of CD processes

It was agreed that between meetings, the convenors of the working groups established in Bamako would be responsible for tracking any developments, especially in the Convening Group, where opportunities exist for interaction between governments and NGOs. These convenors are:

  • Community of Democracies liaison – Mort Halperin & Dick Rowson
  • Party participation – Marieke van Doorn
  • Transition to democracy – Dick Rowson
  • Poverty & development – Paul Graham
  • UN Democracy Caucus and Human Rights Council – Matteo Mecacci

5. Next meeting of the International Steering Committee will take place at the time of the Convening Groups Ministerial level meeting in New York in September. After some discussion, it was agreed that Dick Rowson and Mort Halperin would consult one another on the most appropriate means for obtaining and alerting the ISC to the actual dates and plans for this meeting.

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