The Sunnylands Initiative Special Convening in Seoul

  • 2024-02-01

The Sunnylands Initiative


The Sunnylands Initiative was established in January 2020 to advance a vision for cooperation on strengthening democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region. Recognizing the absence of regional infrastructure to defend freedom, human rights, democratic resilience, and the rule of law, leaders from the region have gathered in Anaheim, CA, Odawara, Japan, and Sydney, Australia, with the firm belief that sustained support of democratic norms and values is crucial to a robust and stable rules-based international order.

The East Asia Institute hosted a Special Convening of the Sunnylands Initiative in Seoul, in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy. Thought leaders from across the Indo-Pacific region convened with a renewed commitment to support the vision outlined in the Sunnylands Principles.


The Sunnylands Initiative Special Convening in Seoul


The 36 preeminent thought leaders and key stakeholders from Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, Thailand, and the United States gathered on February 1-2 for the Sunnylands Initiative, with a clear goal of providing policy recommendations to the South Korean government in the run-up to the third Summit for Democracy.


During the two-day convening, the group discussed:

- The state of democracy in the Indo-Pacific

- Recommendations for South Korea’s democratic leadership

- Progress of the ongoing and new working groups on partnering for democracy, democracy advocates at risk, anti-corruption, as well as technology and democracy

- Pathways for strengthening foreign aid for democracy support

- Opportunities to advance democracy through ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral commitment

- Ways to strengthen democratic partnership with South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands


The Sunnylands Initiative Seoul Joint Statement outlines three key suggestions made by the participants to South Korea: (1) creation of a Korean democracy-support institution, (2) diversification of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for democracy assistance, and (3) establishment of a regional democracy coalition.


To read the Seoul Joint Statement, click HERE.



Copyedited by: Jisoo Park, Research Associate
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The Sunnylands Initiative Special Convening in Seoul
The Sunnylands Initiative Special Convening in Seoul