Former leaders from democratic nations call for renewed effort to defend shared values and push back against authoritarianism and anti-democratic trends

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 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 will be released at the Munich Security Conference this weekend. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and several other world leaders will be in attendance, along with a large US congressional delegation.

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 and 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.

The Declaration of Principles for Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace is available online here. A backgrounder is available here.

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