The importance of multilateral co-operation for strengthening democratic principles and values, including through firm and prompt sanctions for slippages, was highlighted by Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, who on Tuesday opened the 33rd meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CoD) by videoconference, as part of the duties of the Romanian Presidency of CoD.
The Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) says in a press statement released on Tuesday that also addressing the opening meeting were CoD Secretary General Thomas Garrett and Parliamentary Secretary of the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Oliphant, agerpres.ro confirms.
Aurescu highlighted the importance that Romania attaches to the term in office as CoD chair as well as the need to boost and streamline the efforts of the international community to strengthen democratic systems, the only ones that offer prosperity, security and well-being for citizens.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy mentioned the importance of the Principles of the Warsaw Declaration, the founding document of the CoD, as well as of the framework offered by the Bucharest Declaration of June 2020, that shows the best framework for overcoming crises, including the one generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is provided by democracies by respect for human rights, institutional capacity, transparency and trust.
"We must react to the undemocratic policies of abusive regimes, including those considered part of Europe. There can be no impunity for serious violations of democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. No attempt to destabilise our partners or neighbours must be left unpunished, and we must make use of our democratic tools - a strategic approach focused on fundamental values, as well as encouraging the involvement of civil society," Aurescu is quoted as saying.
He added that an essential factor in combating threats to democratic systems is to ensure a framework within which members of society can thrive.
"Recalling that promoting the role of women in public life and in consolidating democracy and economic growth is a priority of the Romanian Presidency in leading the CoD, Aurescu underscored that ensuring gender equality essentially contributes to the formation of a fair, representative, functional society. He pointed to the promotion, at national level, of equal opportunities and treatment, both by law and in practice, exemplifying that by the successful model of Romanian diplomacy, which has a very good gender balance, including in the representation in management positions, both at the MAE headquarters and in the Foreign Service," the release reads.
The Head of the Romanian diplomacy reiterated Romania's commitment to promoting gender equality, including by determining to respect and contribute to the implementation of the provisions of international instruments in the area.
Aurescu proposed to the Governing Council the inclusion of a component on gender equality on the agenda of the next CoD Youth Forum.
He welcomed the adoption on Tuesday of the Governing Council Declaration on the Role of Women in Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development, underlining its importance for strengthening CoD action in this area and for catalysing international efforts on the subject.
The tenth ministerial meeting of the CoD will take place on the sidelines of the high-level segment of the 76th session of the c, in September 2021, where Romania will continue, in its capacity as chair of the CoD, promoting the objectives, values and principles of the Community of Democracies.
Romania is hosting the 33rd meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CoD) and the third under the Romanian Presidency on April 20-21, by videoconference.
Romania holds the Presidency of the Community of Democracies between September 2019 and September 2021, having as main objectives the promotion of democracy globally as the only system that guarantees prosperity and sustainable development, facilitating the involvement of young people in democratic processes, and the relationship between democratic processes and information technology.
The Community of Democracies, established in 2000 at the initiative of the United States, with the signing of the Warsaw Declaration by 106 states, is the largest platform for debate and exchange of experience on global democracy. The Governing Council, which consists of 31 countries, including Romania since 2011, is the main decision-making body of the Community of Democracies.