Democracy News

Report of the Sixth CD Governing Council and Seventh CD Executive Committee Meetings
December 20, 2012
By: CCD President Bob LaGamma | Printer Friendly

This summary was prepared by CCD President and ISC/CD Member Bob LaGamma. Detailed minutes of the meetings will be provided by the Secretariat at a later date.

Prior to the GC meeting, an informal dinner was held in Washington the evening of December 9th to discuss how a democracy objective might be added to the United Nations Millennium Challenge Goals. A small group headed by Maria Leissner and Mongolia’s CD coordinator, Ambassador Suren Badral, met to be briefed by UN observer of International Idea Massimo Tommasoli on the Millennium process and to discuss how the concerns of the Community of Democracies might be advanced.

The CD Governing Council met in Washington on December 10 hosted by the Korean Embassy. Attending were representatives of the following governments: Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Finland, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Mongolia, Morocco, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sweden and the United States.

Massimo Tommasoli of International Idea and Elizabeth Spehar, Director of the Europe Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs both provided briefings on democracy and the United Nations.

I represented the ISC and spoke of civil society concerns. I congratulated the CD on its new institutional structure including the GC the EC and the Permanent Secretariat and Maria Leissner on taking over the reins of the Warsaw Secretariat. I spoke of plans to publish a third edition of the Diplomats’ Handbook and described the new Armed Forces and Democratic Transition project headed by Admiral Dennis Blair. I again called for nominations for the Palmer Prize and described the Lima Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy and the joint WMD/ISC meeting held there as well as our panels on democracy education. Further, I described CCD’s project on democracy education funded by UNDEF.  I offered the congratulations of the ISC to Mongolia for its leadership in having the resolution on democracy education adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

I was accompanied by Bobby Herman of Freedom House who presented the positions of the International Advisory Committee on the issues involving the invitation process to the Ulaanbaatar Ministerial. A good part of the day was taken up with a discussion of that process. Amb. Badral informed the group that more than a hundred invitations had gone out to those agreed upon at the previous GC meeting as not controversial.

What remained were two categories: first, a discussion of 14 governments in the gray area who had been proposed as full participants but about which the ISC had questions. Herman focused his critique on six countries he considered to be the most egregious cases. He placed an emphasis on their oppression of civil society as a major argument against those countries being invited. I also raised the issue of civil society and asked what kind of message would the CD send to dissidents suffering oppression of those governments were invited.

The second category consists of 21 countries that were being considered for the observer category but about whom there were some issues. Those countries were discussed in less detail and many of the decisions on both categories were deferred until the next GC meeting pending further study.

The Executive Committee meeting of the CD was held the next day in Charlottesville at the Morven Foundation of the University of Virginia. The Charlottesville venue had been selected by the Department of State to enable the CD to connect with the University’s new Presidential Precinct. That body is a consortium of the University of Virginia, William and Mary and the historic homes of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. The connection between the Precinct and the CD is based on the interest of the Virginia institutions to assist in reaching out through a website and by other means to assist with democratization and connect with the Department of State’s LEND network, a network that provides advice, guidance and information to democracy activists. Representative of the five institutions briefed the Committee in some detail on the academic resources it was prepared to deploy in support of the CD.

The meeting was a follow-up to the Governing Council meeting of the previous day. It discussed the need for the CD to provide budgetary support for the Permanent Secretariat. One concrete development was the pledge by Nigeria to provide a grant of $150,000, $50,000 of it for program support and the rest for administrative support. Other subjects discussed included the next round of applications for task forces following the Tunisia and Moldova successes. Also proposed was a working group on elections.

It was decided that the next meeting of the Governing Council following the Ministerial would talk place in El Salvador in late June and then in New York at the UN in September.

The meeting went on to discuss plans for the Ulaanbaatar Ministerial, digital freedom, open government initiative and the need to connect the CD especially to Brazil and Indonesia, the concept of an Asian Partnership Initiative. Mongolia spoke of the agenda of the Ministerial which would include reports on the work of the task forces, the accomplishments during the two years of Mongolia’s chairmanship and the involvement of Ministers from task force countries.

 

 

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