Sunnylands Participants Issue Joint Statement on Democratic Partnership in the Indo-Pacific

Leaders, scholars, and practitioners from across the Indo-Pacific region met at the Sunnylands Initiative retreat in Odawara, Japan. (Photo courtesy of JCIE).

On August 1-3, 2022, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), co-organized the second summit of the Sunnylands Initiative on Enhancing Democratic Partnership in the Indo-Pacific (“Sunnylands Initiative”) in Odawara, Japan. [Learn more about the Sunnylands Initiative.]

The retreat brought together prominent practitioners, scholars, political leaders, and former government officials from Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Over three days of meetings, participants discussed the state of democracy in the region and common challenges including resurgent authoritarianism, the rollback of democratic gains in Hong Kong, Burma and Afghanistan, and illiberal domestic forces that undermine confidence in government even in established democracies. At the conclusion of the summit, members issued a joint statement with recommendations to strengthen democratic governance, foster solidarity among democratic stakeholders, and work toward establishing a regional democratic architecture.

“The second Sunnylands Initiative meeting was a great success, with important discussions and debates about the many challenges facing democracy in the Indo-Pacific today and concrete strategies to address them,” said Lynn Lee, deputy director for Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). “In the future, the initiative will engage more stakeholders across the region to build upon the principles expressed in the Odawara Statement and increase support for democratic activists, independent media, and civil society organizations.”

Read the Odawara Statement About Democratic Unity in Asia.