Global leaders launch campaign to defend democracy and a rules-based order :: Declaration of Principles for Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace


Global leaders launch campaign to defend democracy and a rules-based order
Former leaders from democratic nations call for renewed effort to defend shared values and push back against authoritarianism and anti-democratic trends
February 15, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – Amidst the rising tide of authoritarianism and anti-democratic trends around the world, a prestigious group of bipartisan former leaders from democratic nations today issued a Declaration of Principles [below] aimed at reaffirming shared values and a rules-based order.

Among those leading this effort are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bidlt, and former Japanese foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, co-chairs of a global bipartisan task force organized under the auspices of the Atlantic Council and Canada’s Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

“For the past seven decades, free nations have drawn upon the shared values to advance freedom, increase prosperity, and secure peace,” said Albright. “It’s time for citizens around the world who care about these values to stand up and make their voices heard. We need to make clear what we stand for and what kind of world we want to live in.”

“The goal is to reaffirm support for the principles that have been at the foundation of the international order since the end of World War II: democracy; free, fair, and open markets; and the rule of law,” said Bildt. “We cannot sit idly by while autocrats and demagogues undermine these core principles.”

The declaration [was] released at the Munich Security Conference…Task force members David Miliband, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Tzipi Livni, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Wolfgang Ischinger, Ana Palacio, and Radek Sikorski will also be in Munich for the launch of the Declaration. The task force represents leading democracies around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The release of the declaration marks the beginning of an organized effort led by the Atlantic Council and CIGI to revitalize a rules-based order and rebuild public support in favor of democracy, open markets, and alliances. A key priority will be to engage influential members of Congress and parliamentarians in leading democracies an encourage concrete actions to secure and defend a rules-based order. At the same time, the Council will seek to establish a dialogue among a broader group of world powers to identify areas of agreement in support of a stable global order…


Declaration of Principles for Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace
February 2018
We, citizens, former officials, and representatives of governments and private entities, united by common values, have agreed as follows:

For seven decades, free nations have drawn upon common principles to advance freedom, increase prosperity, and secure peace. The resulting order, built on the foundation of democratic values and human dignity, has brought better lives for our citizens and billions of people around the world.

But the international system must rise to meet new challenges. New technologies are transforming societies. In many of our nations, stagnant wages, income disparities, and uneven benefits from global trade are leading many to question free market economics and the value of engagement in the world. Increased migration is fueling concerns about job security and national identity.

Around the world, politicians are exploiting these challenges, denigrating the rule of law, and undermining faith in democracy. Autocrats and extremists are attacking these principles, oppressing their own people, threatening security, and contending that might makes right.

Yet, free peoples have met greater challenges in the past, and we can master those in our time.

Innovations in communications, energy, health, and more yet to come are opening possibilities unimaginable before. Entrepreneurship based on freedom and new ideas can drive prosperity. Empowered men and women can address social problems from the bottom up. Governments that answer to their citizens and respect the rule of law can best address inequity, correct injustice, and serve the good of all.

Free nations must adapt and change. Yet our principles remain sound because they reflect the common aspirations of the human spirit. Societies that respect these principles are better placed to produce security and prosperity. Nations that uphold them are more likely to work together in peace. And authoritarians who stifle enterprise, dispense arbitrary justice, and abuse their people ultimately will fail.

Inspired by the inalienable rights derived from our ethics, traditions, and faiths, we commit ourselves to seek a better future for our citizens and our nations. We will defend our values, overcome past failures with new ideas, answer lies with truth, confront aggression with strength, and go forward with the confidence that our principles will prevail.

We call on all who are willing to join us in this common cause.

1. Freedom and Justice
We affirm the right of all people to live in free and just societies, where fundamental rights are protected under the rule of law.
Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to:
:: respect and protect the freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, the press, expression, association, and assembly
:: allow for the free flow of information and ideas, while protecting personal information and individual privacy
:: ensure equal protection and non-discrimination with regard to race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, culture, nationality, language, gender, disability, and sexual identity
:: combat corruption, hold public officials accountable, and uphold the rule of law

2. Democracy and Self-Determination
We affirm the right of all people to make decisions about their own affairs through elected governments that reflect their consent, free from foreign interference.
Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to:
:: respect and protect the right of all people to choose their own leaders through a free, fair, and competitive democratic process
:: refrain from threats, coercion, intimidation, violence, election meddling, or other undue interference in the internal or external affairs of free nations
:: respect the right of peaceful self-determination and seek the settlement of disputes over political status without threats, violence, or oppression

3. Peace and Security
We affirm the right of all people to live in peace, free from threats of aggression, terrorism, oppression, crimes against humanity, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to:
:: refrain from engaging in or providing support for such actions
:: seek to prevent such violence and cut off material or financial support or safe haven to governments, groups, or individuals engaged in such actions
:: support the peaceful settlement of disputes, including civil conflicts, and refrain from the use of force, except as just and necessary to advance these principles

4. Free Markets and Equal Opportunity
We affirm the right of all people to engage in economic activity based on free market principles, with equal opportunity to contribute to and the ability to share in the benefits of national prosperity.
Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to:
:: protect the right of people to own property, purchase goods and services, and invest in free and open markets
:: promote the free and fair flow of trade and investment; protect intellectual property; respect agreements; and support an open global economy
:: protect the rights of workers, including the right to seek gainful employment; seek to mitigate the adverse impacts of global trade; and encourage inclusive, equitable, and well-regulated economies
:: seek to mitigate poverty, eradicate disease, and facilitate access to food, water, shelter, medical services, and education for their own citizens and others in need

5. An Open and Healthy Planet
We affirm the right of all people to enjoy free and open access to the global commons and a safe and healthy planet.
Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to:
:: reduce the risk of damage to the global climate or environment caused by nature or human activity
:: refrain from undue interference with freedom of navigation in the air, seas, and outer space, or with access to cyberspace
:: while harnessing their benefits, seek to mitigate potentially dangerous or unethical applications of advanced technology
:: while protecting their national identity and controlling migration over their borders, provide refuge for those fleeing from persecution or violence, and respect the rights of all people living and working in their nations

6. The Right of Assistance
We affirm the right of national sovereignty, while recognizing that sovereignty obligates governments to uphold these principles.
Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to:
:: allow their citizens to receive assistance from others to advance these principles, including, in non-free societies, support to non-violent groups, political parties, and individuals aiming to foster democracy or human rights
:: assist those adversely impacted by violations of these principles, and where governments or other actors are unwilling or unable to cease or remedy flagrant or systematic violations, take such actions just and necessary to prevent them

7. Collective Action
We affirm the right of all people to cooperate in support of these principles and to work together to advance them.
Governments, private entities, and individuals should seek to advance these principles by supporting:
:: partnerships, coalitions, and alliances that bring together likeminded governments, including a potential new alliance of free nations
:: public-private partnerships and coalitions that bring together governments, private entities, and other stakeholders
:: international institutions and agencies, including the United Nations, that aim to foster dialogue, cooperation, and shared responsibility between nations

Principles are not self-executing. Working with all who are ready to join us, we will develop a plan of action to implement these principles and advance our common goals.

We call on individuals, institutions, corporations, and governments in our own nations and around the world to advance these principles and create a more effective and responsive set of global rules. Our responsibilities rise commensurate with our influence.

We will advocate for these principles within our own nations, reaching out as broadly as possible to build public support.

We will seek to revise and strengthen the international system to reflect these principles and advance them on the basis of international law.

We will reach out to all nations to seek common ground, enlisting all those willing to help build an adapted international order based on these principles.

We will forge creative solutions to address the just claims of nations underrepresented in the current system, the needs of those left behind in our societies, and the impact of revolutionary technology so that it becomes an agent of sustainable development and positive, rather than destructive, change.

We will establish a standing mechanism to track compliance with these principles and call out those that are seeking to undermine them. We will urge our governments to act when these principles are violated.

We will stand firm behind our principles and work together to advance freedom, prosperity, justice, security and peace for all nations.

Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state, United States
Carl Bildt, former prime minister, Sweden
Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor, United States
Yoriko Kawaguchi, former minister of foreign affairs, Japan
[Other signatories at title link]