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9. desember 2021 Forsætisráðuneytið

Ávarp Katrínar Jakobsdóttur forsætisráðherra á leiðtogafundi um lýðræði - Summit for Democracy ​

Dear colleagues.

Promoting and defending democracy is central to Iceland’s national identity and at the heart of my government’s policies, at home and abroad. Although a solid democratic tradition is well established in Iceland, advancing democratic principles is inherently an ongoing process.

In our recent general election, we experienced some irregularities in the counting of votes in one of our constituencies. After a thorough investigation, the majority of Parliament concluded that there was not enough ground to order a repeat vote. It was not an easy decision and the controversy surrounding it serves as a reminder of the importance of the integrity of elections and that they are safeguarded by a trusted legal framework.

In recent years, we have sadly witnessed some serious backlash in democracy, human rights and gender equality around the world. This trend must be reversed, inter alia with the help of independent media and strong civil society. In order to fight the erosion of trust in democratic structures, innovative government is needed which engages with society in an inclusive fashion. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a further strain on our democratic societies. During the pandemic, we have seen human rights come under attack – including an alarming rise in gender-based violence.

The biggest challenge we collectively face in the longer term is the climate crisis. As global citizens we are all responsible for this man-made crisis and those of us with the resources have a moral duty to assist climate refugees, the number of which is bound to increase as this crisis deepens. As we make the inevitable transformation to a carbon neutral society, and a more circular economy we must ensure that this transition does not lead to new inequalities. Our societies are also going through a continuous digital transformation, a process that we must ensure leads to more equal societies.

A key part of Iceland’s determination to advance democracy focuses on gender equality and rights of LGBTI people. My government has agreed on a range of concrete actions to be implemented over the next few years.    

In closing, I’d like to thank you, President Biden, for convening this Summit.

Iceland is proud to stand with our partners around the world working towards advancing democratic values and fundamental respect for human rights for everyone.

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