Efforts to strengthen democracies around the globe are working and the world is turning the tide towards greater freedom, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday as he sought to assure that democratic institutions work.
Addressing his second global summit on democracy, Biden also announced that the US intends to commit USD 9.5 billion to advance democracy around the world.
At the time of the first summit in December of 2021, the sentiment in too many places around the world was that democracy's best days were behind.
Democracy had declined by some measures for 15 consecutive years. But this year, we can say there's a different story to tell, Biden said.
Thanks to the commitment, thanks to the commitment of leaders of global -- gathered today and the persistence of people in every region of the world demanding their rights be respected and their voices being heard, we're seeing real indications, real indications that we're turning the tide here, he said.
Biden led a virtual summit event in Washington focused on democracy delivering on global challenges, calling on democracies to continue to stand together amid global challenges.
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We're at an inflection point in history here, where the decisions we make today are going to affect the course of our world for the next several decades for certain. We're going forward from this summit, our job is to keep building on our progress so we don't start heading in the wrong direction again, to keep the momentum going, Biden said.
This is a turning point for our world toward greater freedom, greater dignity, and greater democracy. Here in the United States, we've demonstrated that our democracy can still do big things and deliver important progress for working Americans., said the president.
Here's what I hope everyone gathered here and everyone watching around the world takes away from this summit: it's working. It's working, Biden said.
At the first summit of democracies in December 2021, the US committed more than USD 400 million to shore up transparent and accountable governance, support media freedom, fight against international corruption, stand with democracy and democratic reformers, promote technology that advances democracy, and defend elections.
Now, working in close cooperation with the United States Congress, we plan to add another USD690 million for new funding for the Presidential Initiative over the next two years," Biden said.
"And over the course of three years, my administration intends to work with Congress to commit USD 9.5 billion across all our efforts to advance democracy around the world, Biden said.
The US, he said, is creating a new Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights and Governance at the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) to implement many of these funding commitments, to enhance its support for Democratic initiatives globally.
You know, one key focus of our democracy work will be in making sure that technologies can continue to develop that -- continue to develop that are used to advance democratic governance, not used to undermine it," Biden said.
Among the steps Biden announced Wednesday was a coalition of international partners joining the United States in regulating the use of commercial spyware.
"As part of this, earlier this week, I signed an executive order here in the United States to restrict the US Government's use of commercial spyware that has been abused to target dissidents, activists, and journalists around the world, including in the United States, he told the world leaders.
"US taxpayer dollars should not support companies that are willing to sell their products to abate human rights and violations, and I'm assuming abet human rights violations," he added.
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