Ambassador Bekhbat Khasbazar of Mongolia's Remarks at the US Coordinating Committee Briefing on the CD
March 23, 2012
REMARKS BY H.E. MR. BEKHBAT KHASBAZAR, AMBASSADOR OF MONGOLIA
TO THE UNITED STATES AT CD’S BRIEFING
Venue: THE COUNCIL FOR A COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRACIES
March 23, 2012
Good morning everyone. I express my thanks to Bob for inviting us and giving an opportunity to brief you on recent activities of the Mongolian chairmanship of the Community of Democracies.
As everyone is familiar with, Mongolia assumed the presidency of Community of Democracies on July 1st 2011, after Lithuania. Since then we are striving to promote and bring to fruition the seeds of the reform which were initiated and launched during Lithuania’s presidency. Obviously, it needs enduring effort to revitalize the Community of Democracies. However, we have seen a variety of encouraging signs that support this long-term process. Mongolia focuses on transforming the Community of Democracies to more operational and action oriented body.
Since TT will speak about the ongoing reforms, let me concentrate more on Mongolia’s other priority areas and outline what we have done and what we intend to do in near future.
As you know well, in order to effectively chair the Community of Democracies, we established roughly a year ago the National Council led by the Prime Minister. All stakeholders, such as government organizations, representatives of civil society organizations, media and business entities are included at the Council. Also, the Office of the CD presidency of Mongolia was established at the Ministry of foreign affairs and trade, which is led by Ambassador-at-large Mr. Badral Suren. He coordinates everyday activities.
From the very beginning and after wide-ranging consultations, we elaborated the presidency’s main priority areas as following:
- Promotion of democracy education;
- Strengthening the CD’s regional cooperation;
- Interacting with other democracies in experience sharing;
- Consolidation of the civil society;
- Fight for zero tolerance to corruption.
The theme of democracy education is Mongolia’s top priority. The democracy education had been highlighted as one of the basic principle of the Community of Democracies in all CD’s Ministerial declarations from Warsaw to Vilnius. But the Community still needs a common, comprehensive understanding of the way to create, through education, cultures of democracy – this bedrock of stable, consolidated democracies.
As you know, last year Mongolia and Poland established jointly the Working Group on democracy education and we convened its first meeting on January 30th 2012 in Warsaw. The WG is to enhance international cooperation to provide opportunities for promotion and strengthening of democratic values among societies by means of education. It will serve as a platform for exchanging knowledge, experience and best practices in the field of democracy education for further consolidation of democracy worldwide.
On May 20-21, Mongolia would co-host with UNESCO an international seminar on democracy education in Ulaanbaatar. We look forward to have prominent scholars and academics that have a broad knowledge on democracy education. Further, we would co-host a regional conference with the Government of India at the second half of this year. Through these events, we expect to share our ideas and insights in depth in order to formulate a more common understanding on the subject and come up with necessary guidelines or measures for further actions.
We will also seek to pass a UN General Assembly resolution on Education for democracy and to approach donor governments, regional organizations, corporations and foundations to support diverse democracy education initiatives.
As you remember, the President of Mongolia launched an Initiative Group on Education for Democracy (IGED) last autumn. Heads of State and Government of Finland, Nigeria, Romania and Luxembourg joined the Initiative. However, it still needs to be substantiated. We look forward to have more countries’ support this initiative.
The second priority area is to strengthen the Community of Democracies’ regional cooperation. While all the members agree on the importance of regional cooperation, we do recognize that over the last years the community activities have been mainly Euro or Euro-Atlantic centered. Therefore, Mongolia, as Asian country, considers it quite natural to make more emphasis on promoting regional cooperation, in particular across the Asian region. And this approach has been broadly welcomed by the member states.
Mongolia attaches great importance to the working group which is co-chaired by the Republic of Korea and Romania. Asia’s influential countries such, as Japan, India, South Korea, Philippines are participating in the working group and Indonesia has got a strong desire to engage in our community’s activities. Since last year, we held a series of consultative meetings with South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. I have also to remind that Mongolia along with the Republic of Korea put forward a new initiative - the Asia Partnership Initiative for Democracy (APID) last August. The aim of this initiative is to advance democratic values and norms across the region jointly with our Asian partners. In this regard, we can see important potentials of cooperation with Bali Democracy Forum and other democracy oriented Asia Pacific bodies. The Prime Minister of Mongolia attended the 4th Bali Democracy Forum last December and expressed our willingness to work closely with the forum within the framework of CoD’s goals.
Furthermore, Ambassador Badral attended the Consultative meeting on the Asian Partnership initiative for democracy which held in Seoul on February 14, 2012. He shared his views with Korean colleagues on the advancement of the initiative, ways of its implementation as well as issues related to engagement of other democracy support organizations. Ambassador Badral is going to attend the Cheiju forum in June. We hope that more countries will be involved in this initiative and we will continue our efforts on strengthening the regional cooperation.
Our third priority area is to interact with other democracies in sharing experiences and lessons. We consider that in today’s era of democratic changes, the Community’s success will be measured in large part by its ability to provide a strong, efficient support to new and emerging democracies. And this support can be achieved, above all, by means of knowledge and experience sharing.
Mongolia, as a young democracy, continues to look forward to listen and learn more from other democracies and stands ready, as current Chair, to share its experiences with new democracies. We encourage all CD member countries to continue their solidarity and their support for those who fight for freedom and democracy in “Arab spring” countries, in Central Asia, in Burma and elsewhere in the world.
Mongolia has welcomed and applauded the establishment of Task forces for Moldova and Tunisia within the democracy partnership challenge. We appreciate very much the efforts of Task force countries to support these emerging democracies. Mongolia has been interacting with Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar with a view of establishing similar Task forces. We believe through Task Force initiatives we could contribute to the goal of sharing our values and best practices.
The forth priority area is the consolidating the civil society. The civil society is an important player of the democratic changes. So, it is and should be a strong partner of the Community of Democracies. One of this organization’s greatest strengths is its ability of setting a platform for common actions. The Community’s working group on defending civil society could determine the best ways for strengthening the partnerships between governments and civil society. As we work to establish the Community’s identity as an international organization, a strong role for its civil society component should be one of its defining features.
Mongolia has been a part of the working group on civil society since 2009. Canada is the chair of this working group and is making Mongolia a case country which supports and consolidates the civil society as well as successfully implements the law on civil societies and NGO’s. Within the framework of the working group we wish to intensify the activities for consolidating the civil society and engage it closely with the Council of a Community of Democracies and other related bodies.
Fifth priority area is the fight for the zero tolerance to corruption. As you remember, in his speech during the UN Democracy Caucus Informal ministerial meeting in New York last September, President Ts. Elbegdorj highlighted the importance of combatting corruption. As the corruption saps the vitality of the democratic institutions, as it constitutes one of the most acute problems new and emerging democracies face, the anticorruption efforts must be kept high on our agenda. We need to continue our struggle to build up the zero tolerance to corruption environment. And we need, among others, to continue efforts in order to promote and consolidate our corporate democracy chapter.
Let me speak about the interaction with United Nations and few words on Permanent Secretariat.
Mongolia as the Chair believes that the United Nations is a key partner in our endeavor to promote democracy and human rights.
We intend to enhance CD activities within the UN, particularly with UN Democracy Caucus and UNHRC. It is our view that a deep engagement with UN could make the CD as a strong institution. Last September we hosted the UN Democracy Caucus Informal ministerial meeting in New York, where we had quite a large audience which demonstrated that the UN is one of essential venue for CD activities. It was inspiring and encouraging. We should hold the UN Democracy Caucus Informal ministerial meeting every year during the UN General Assembly. Now we are looking for establishing a strong CD presence in Geneva. In this regard, The Governing Council needs to define principles that will guide CD engagement. The engagement approach might be either a Democracy Caucus or a Working Group. As the chair of the CD we are gathering ideas for a concept paper on engagement until the GC July meeting in Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia aims to make the CD as a high profile organization. To this end, we attach much importance to the Permanent Secretariat that should be a strong institute. Over the past 10 years of the CD experience, we have got to know that the Permanent Secretariat ought to be the engine, manager and institutional memory of this organization. In this regard, the chair wishes to speed up our works for shaping up the new PS structure as soon as possible.
Here let me finish my briefing. I will be grateful if you make your comments and suggestions.
Thank you for your attention.