NZ attends US President’s Democracy Summit

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participated overnight in the virtual Summit for Democracy, hosted by United States President Joe Biden.

The Prime Minister delivered New Zealand’s national statement to the Summit for Democracy which focused on the challenges and opportunities facing democracies.

“I want to thank to President Biden for bringing us together in these challenging times of COVID-19 and when other events threaten to disconnect and divide us,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As one of the oldest democracies in the world New Zealand will always protect and defend the principles of democracy, pluralism, and partnership, underpinned by human rights and the rule of law, because they form our identity as a nation.

“We need to continue facing the challenges of our time, such as COVID-19 and climate change, in a way that reflects our democratic strengths – the inclusivity of societies, preserving the value of a diversity of voices and building enduring institutions and cooperative approaches which help solve challenges and address needs.

New Zealand was also invited to open the Summit’s discussion on strengthening democratic resilience, chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“We used the Summit to encourage other participants to commit to a free, open, secure and globally connected internet because it is a powerful vehicle for social progress and for ensuring the future of democracy,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Progress continues through the Christchurch Call to Action with governments, industry, and civil society working together to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.  It was pleasing to see the United States join the Christchurch Call earlier this year and we look forward to working with all countries interested in the purpose of the Call. We also called on the world’s democracies to seize the opportunity to cooperate on strengthening global pandemic preparedness and response.

The Summit, coinciding with International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day runs for two days, bringing together over 100 world leaders including from civil society and the private sector, to focus on the challenges and opportunities facing democracies.

The Prime Minister also announced at the Summit an additional NZD$1 million to support Pacific countries’ anti-corruption efforts, as well as making contributions to UNESCO’s Global Media Defence Fund and the International Fund for Public Interest Media.