Canadian and German civil society organizations call for a Network for Democratic Solidarity

TOPSHOT – Protesters crowd around the victory column and close to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to demonstrate for peace in Ukraine on February 27, 2022. – More than 100,000 people turned up at the march in solidarity with Ukraine, police said, with many protesters dressed in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukraine flag. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Toronto and Ottawa, December 7, 2022 The Canadian International Council (CIC) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Canada (KAS) urge pro-democracy actors to establish a new likeminded group of governments and international civil society to concert to protect democracy, defend human rights, and strengthen international cooperation. The new group would be called the Network for Democratic Solidarity. 

The recommendation is the culmination of two years of vigorous consultation among thought leaders and centres of research and excellence in Canada and Germany within the Renewing Our Democratic Alliance project, jointly organized by the CIC and KAS since 2021. Inspired by years of mutual learning that has strengthened the democracies of our two countries, this project brought together over 150 scholars, practitioners, front-line workers, and advocates align policy responses to a wide range of shared challenges: climate change, public health, economic growth, migration, corruption, and the impact of technology on democracy itself.

Ukraine has demonstrated the imperative that democracies stand together in the face of aggression. And yet the future of global democracy is too often reduced to a contest between blocs of countries, forcing nations to choose sides.

It is better understood as a contest of ideas. What unites democracies is the incentive to ensure that states protect the rights of their citizens and deliver for them. This system of government is more likely to prevail is pro-democracy actors learn from one another, to share solutions and improve our respective democracies.

The Network for Democratic Solidarity would provide a venue for this exchange, drawing pro- democracy actors together in a process of mutual learning and generating mutual commitment to one another in the process.

“Our new approach emphasizes mutual learning and therefore represents a significant advance over previous forms of democracy promotion, with their emphasis on exporting solutions from successful democracies to countries that are struggling. Democracy is a constant struggle for all nations. We will be more successful when we help one another” said Dr. Norbert Eschborn, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Canada.

Building on decades of experience of the German political foundations such as KAS and the example of Canada’s earlier successes with the Human Security Network, a Network for Democratic Solidarity would consist of two tracks. One track would have government officials meet regularly to exchange perspectives on shared challenges their respective democracies face. A parallel track would convene civil society actors to propose policy responses to these shared challenges.

Detailed policy recommendations for mutual learning between democracies are attached. Alignment of national approaches to combat disinformation, to tackle the global system of corruption, to share responsibility for managing refugee flows and rebuilding solidarity with low-income countries after the COVID pandemic would form the initial agenda of the new likeminded group.

The CIC and the KAS have forwarded the conclusions of its work to the Governments of Germany and Canada. They have offered to help organize an inaugural organizational meeting of the Network for Democratic Solidarity in early 2023.   

Press enquiries:
Ben Rowswell
Director, Global Democracy Program
Canadian International Council