The Governing Council (GC) is the Community’s principal decision-making body. Its 30 members represent more than 2.5 billion people across the globe, giving the Governing Council a geographic and political diversity that reinforces the organization’s multinational character.
Member states have committed to advance the core principles of democracy and human rights in their foreign policy, and are obligated to play an active role in the leadership and activities of the Community.
The Governing Council includes the following countries:
Argentina, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Norway, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom.
Governing Council Activities
In addition to driving the global democratic agenda, members of the GC share information about democracy, human rights and other pressing international issues with other governments and representatives of civil society.
Governments also use the high-level Governing Council meetings to raise awareness about priority issues and build alliances in support of their foreign policy objectives.
The mandate of the GC includes the following:
• Approving activities undertaken on behalf of the Community
• Selecting future presidencies of the Community
• Approving the list of Ministerial Conference invitees
• Inviting new member states to be part of the Governing Council
• Endorsing cooperation agreements with partners
• Recognizing affiliated bodies
• Electing an executive committee from among its members
• Suspending membership on the Governing Council in the case of an unconstitutional or comparable deviation from the democratic process
Each Governing Council member state must commit to adhere to the Warsaw Declaration, which lists 19 core democratic principles and practices that form the foundation of the CoD’s activities.
Each country is also required to designate a specific person to serve as the Community’s focal point. This representative is obligated to attend quarterly meetings of the Governing Council and to ensure that the country’s missions are engaged with the UN Democracy Caucus in New York and Geneva.
Members make voluntary financial contributions to the Community. They are also required to fulfill a broader commitment to provide tangible support, in the form of financial contributions, secondments to the Permanent Secretariat and active participation in Working Groups or other affiliated bodies.