Fact Sheet: 2020 U.S.-Taiwan Consultations on Democratic Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region and Beyond
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), in cooperation with the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the U.S. Department of State (DRL) convened the second annual U.S.-Taiwan Consultations on Democratic Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region in September and October 2020 to advance joint projects to strengthen democratic institutions and address pressing governance challenges.
The United States and Taiwan have intensified cooperation since the September 2019 inaugural session of the consultations through efforts to share Taiwan’s rich experience with good governance with countries across the region, including:
- U.S.-Taiwan Tech Challenge on Countering Disinformation and Propaganda: In February, AIT and the U.S. Department of State’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), together with Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry and U.S.-based Park Advisors co-organized the U.S.-Taiwan Tech Challenge on Countering Disinformation and Propaganda, bringing together companies from the United States, Taiwan, Israel, and Australia to deploy cutting-edge technology to build democratic resiliency against disinformation. The GEC awarded $250,000 combined to the Tech Challenge’s two winners to advance the development of their technologies to combat disinformation and propaganda online.
- Global Cooperation and Training Framework Workshop on Combatting COVID-19 Disinformation: In April, DRL Assistant Secretary Destro, AIT Director Brent Christensen, Taiwan former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-Chien, and Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Representative Izumi Hiroyasu jointly opened the very first virtual Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) workshop – on combating disinformation through open and transparent governance and civic engagement – with more than 80 participants coming from nine countries. The GEC’s Principal Deputy Coordinator Daniel Kimmage presented case studies of successful GEC collaborations with Taiwan-based partners to combat disinformation.
- U.S. Civil Society Efforts to Trace Disinformation in Taiwan: In August, U.S.-based non-governmental organizations Graphika, Institute for the Future’s Digital Intelligence Lab, and the International Republican Institute issued a joint report on information operations directed at Taiwan’s democratic processes, “Detecting Digital Fingerprints: Tracing Chinese Disinformation in Taiwan,” based on research conducted in partnership with a range of Taiwan-based journalists, academics, technologists, and Taiwan officials. In March, the National Democratic Institute released “Canary in a Digital Coal Mine,” a short documentary on the collaboration between Taiwan’s civic tech community and government to combat disinformation ahead of the January 2020 elections.
- U.S. Support for Taiwan’s Engagement with the Open Government Partnership: In support of Taiwan’s meaningful participation in multilateral and multi-stakeholder fora, the American Institute in Taiwan convened representatives of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee countries and Taiwan Minister for Digital Affairs Audrey Tang in February in Washington, D.C. to highlight the advanced nature of Taiwan’s government transparency practices and explore increased participation for Taiwan in the OGP.
During the coming year, the United States and Taiwan will work together to draw on Taiwan’s achievements in promoting religious freedom, women’s economic empowerment, combating the spread of disinformation online, government transparency, and holding credible elections to demonstrate the centrality of democratic values in upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific region through efforts including:
- Joint Funding for Anti-Corruption, Open Government, Democracy, and Human Rights: The United States and Taiwan intend to provide joint funding for new anti-corruption and open government efforts in the Indo-Pacific region and commit to explore additional collaborative opportunities to promote democracy and human rights in the Indo-Pacific.
- Strengthening U.S.-Taiwan Civil Society Linkages: Taiwan has approved the application of the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute to register an office in Taipei and the International Republican Institute is also establishing a long-term presence in Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to establish a designated point of contact to assist international non-governmental organizations through the process of establishing their presence in Taiwan, and to publish an accompanying set of guidelines on www.taiwanngo.tw.
- Leveraging Taiwan as a Platform for Promoting Democracy: The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Czech Republic-based Forum 2000 Foundation, in collaboration with the U.S.-based non-profit National Endowment for Democracy, have announced plans to convene a major international workshop on democracy in 2021 in Taiwan and to support the further development of non-governmental partnerships that advance democratic governance throughout the Indo-Pacific region.