Democracy in the Indo-Pacific

Monday, January 27, 2020

Topics: Global Cooperation, Greater Pacific, Initiative on Democratic Governance and Unity in the Indo-Pacific Retreat, Retreat News

Date: January 23, 2020 - January 25, 2020

Participants: Former government officials, political leaders, and scholars from the United States, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The Indo-Pacific region is a strategic area of focus for Sunnylands. Though more people in the Indo-Pacific region live under democratic rule than any other form of government, democracy in the region is under stress. The United States has a long and proud history of providing democracy assistance to countries seeking help in strengthening their democratic institutions. Asian democracies, on the other hand, tend to value the importance of democracy domestically, but traditionally have been less inclined to include democratic values as a pillar of their foreign policies.

In partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the National Endowment for Democracy, from January 23-25, 2020, Sunnylands convened a retreat known as the “Initiative on Democratic Governance and Unity in the Indo-Pacific.”  The meeting brought together influential former government officials, political leaders, and scholars from the United States, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines for a private strategic dialogue on how to support and advance democratic norms in Asia.

At the retreat, participants debated and notionally agreed to a consensus document titled the “Sunnylands Principles on Democratic Partnership in the Indo-Pacific” that reinforce the importance of democracy and women’s rights across the region.  In doing so, Sunnylands reinvigorated support for greater cooperation on democratic ideals among strategic thinkers in Asia and the United States.

Democracy In Asia retreat
Dr. Marty Natalegawa, who served as foreign minister of Indonesia from 2009 to 2014, addresses participants of the Initiative on Democratic Governance and Unity in the Indo-Pacific in January 2020.