A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Sunday, 14 September 2014

International Day of Democracy 2014, September 15


As we observe this year’s International Day of Democracy, the world seems more turbulent than ever. In many regions and in many ways, the values of the United Nations, including some of the most fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the UN Charter, are being tested and challenged.

Recent outbreaks of violence reinforce a truth we have seen time and again: that where societies are not inclusive, and where governments are not responsive and accountable, peace, equality and shared prosperity cannot take hold. We need to do more to empower individuals, focusing on the billions of people who are underprivileged, marginalized, jobless, hopeless and understandably frustrated. We need to ensure they are heard and can take an active part in their future.

That is why my message today goes out to those who will be at the forefront of the world beyond 2015, and who by nature are at a turning point in their own lives: young people. One person out of five today is between the ages of 15 and 24. Never before has the transition from youth to adulthood been so weighed by challenges, yet so blessed by opportunities. You have powers to network that would have been unimaginable when the United Nations was founded nearly 70 years ago. You are connecting about issues that matter. Injustice. Discrimination. Human rights abuses. The discourse of hate. The need for human solidarity.

I call on members of the largest generation of youth in history to confront challenges and consider what you can do to resolve them. To take control of your destiny and translate your dreams into a better future for all. To contribute to building stronger and better democratic societies. To work together, to use your creative thinking, to become architects of a future that leaves no one behind. To help set our world on course for a better future.

On this International Day of Democracy, I call on young people everywhere to lead a major push for inclusive democracy around the world.  

Ban Ki-moon. 


Organised by the United Nations Working Group on Democracy, the International Peace Institute, the Community of Democracies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and International IDEA (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance).

- Do young people find politics irrelevant and dull? 
- Have young people discovered more powerful tools for democratic change than any generation before them?

People between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five constitute one-fifth of the world’s population, and in many developing countries the proportion is even higher. However, numerous studies show decreasing levels of youth participating in elections, political parties, and traditional social organizations. At the same time, informal, youth-led movements for democratic change are on the rise. Using new communication tools, young people are making their mark on democracy-building in untraditional ways.

The United Nations, several other international organizations, and a range of civil society groups have set out to facilitate and support the participation of young people in democracy worldwide.

- But what is the reality on the ground? How do young people engage in politics and policymaking? 
- How can they contribute to creating more inclusive and participatory democracies? 
- What challenges are they encountering? 
- How do they perceive the role of the international community in strengthening young people’s engagement with democracy? 
- How do they view the changes brought about by young people in the Arab Spring and elsewhere, and what are the lessons learned?

Venue: Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security & Development; International Peace Institute; 777 United Nations Plaza, 12th Floor
When : Monday, September 15, 2014
Hours : 1:00pm – 2:45pm

Introductory Remarks:
Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Warren Hoge, Senior Adviser for External Relations at the International Peace Institute
  • Hafsa Afailal, Programme Officer, Médiateur pour la Démocratie et les Droits de l'Homme, Rabat, Morocco
  • Gustavo Arturo Martínez Rodríguez, Youth Volunteer, Coordinadora Intersectorial Pro Juventudes de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, Member of Afghanistan Parliament, Lower House, Kabul, Afghanistan
We hope you can join the engaging and dynamic discussion on this important issue.

For more information, please visit the International Peace Institute. Register here.
You can follow the live webcast.

Forum :  Join the forum of discussion about the  International Day of Democracy- 15 September

Resources : Publications

Best Practices Manual on Democracy Education - Council for a community of Democracies

This Best Practices Manual on Democracy Education is the culmination of more than a decade during which the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD) has made democracy education a priority for the Community of Democracies (CD) and the democracy community at large.

Whether in South Africa, Chile, Poland, Korea, or Tunisia, the struggle to establish democracy has been a noble and heroic one, fraught with great sacrifice. We have come to realize that the great democratic
transformations that have swept the globe, if they are to endure and fulfill the aspirations of a people, require more than the ouster of a dictator and more even than free and fair elections. If democracy is truly to take root, an extensive institutional framework and, perhaps more importantly, the active participation of a population are needed if a government of the people — democracy — is to survive and thrive. That participation can only be generated if the people of the new democracy are educated, informed, and encouraged to exercise their rights. Our premise is that education for democracy is the glue that sustains and holds a democratic system together.

Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns - A Handbook on Political Finance. (IDEA)

All political parties need funding to play their part in the political process, yet the role of money in politics is arguably the biggest threat to democracy today. This global threat knows no boundaries, evident across all continents from huge corporate campaign donations in the United States and drug money seeping into politics in Latin America, to corruption scandals throughout Asia and Europe. Attempts to tackle these challenges through political finance laws and regulations are often undermined by a lack of political will or capacity, as well as poorly designed and enforced measures.
This handbook addresses the problems of money in politics by analysing political finance regulations around the world and providing guidance for reform. The chapters are divided by region; each assesses the current state of regulations in relation to its challenges and offers a series of recommendations to tackle the identified shortcomings. This contextual approach has the benefit of revealing regional trends and patterns. An additional chapter focuses on gender, reflecting the reality that women remain grossly under-represented in politics, and how the increasing influence of money in politics perpetuates this inequality.

 More publications of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)

Freedom in the world 2014

An Eighth Year of Decline in Political Rights and Civil Liberties.

The state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House’s annual country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties.

Particularly notable were developments in Egypt, which endured across-the-board reversals in its democratic institutions following a military coup. There were also serious setbacks to democratic rights in other large, politically influential countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia.

Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa registered the worst civil liberties scores of any region. Gains: Iraq’s political rights rating improved as the result of greater political activity by opposition parties during provincial elections, and Tunisia earned an increase in its civil liberties rating. Declines: Egypt saw its status decline from Partly Free to Not Free. The Gaza Strip received a decline in its political rights rating.

Sub-Saharan Africa
In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has been the most politically volatile region, with major democratic breakthroughs in some countries, and coups, insurgencies, and authoritarian crackdowns in others. This trend continued in 2013. Gains: Mali moved from Not Free to Partly Free due to successful elections and an improved security situation in the north. Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Zimbabwe all saw ratings improvements. Declines: The Central African Republic dropped from Partly Free to Not Free because of a rebellion that ousted the president and parliament and suspended the constitution, and Sierra Leone’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to persistent problems with corruption. Ratings declines were also seen in South Sudan and Uganda.

Eurasia continues to be one of the most repressive areas in the world. Three of its countries—Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are among the worst-rated. Russia intensified domestic persecution of political opponents and vulnerable minority groups in 2013. Gains: None. Declines: Azerbaijan suffered a downgrade in its civil liberties rating due to blatant property rights violations by the government.

China became increasingly intolerant of dissent in 2013, as officials expanded the criminalization of online speech and police arrested dozens of activists who had advocated anticorruption reforms. Gains: Bhutan, Japan, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga all registered improvements. Declines: Indonesia’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to a new law restricting the activities of nongovernmental organizations. South Korea registered a downgrade in its political rights rating.

The death in March 2013 of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez brought early hopes of improvements in the country’s political rights and civil liberties environment. However, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, further weakened the independent media, reduced the opposition’s ability to serve as a check on government policy, and made threats to civil society groups. Gains: Nicaragua’s political rights and civil liberties ratings improved due consultations on proposed constitutional reforms, gradual improvements for the rights of women, and advances in efforts to combat human trafficking. Declines: The Dominican Republic and Panama suffered declines due to the stripping of citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent and the Panamanian government’s corruption problems.

Most countries in Europe showed respect for democratic standards and civil liberties, even as many faced growing nationalist sentiment in response to an influx of immigrants. However, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan displayed increasingly authoritarian tendencies, including a crackdown on protesters in Istanbul and a campaign against critical voices in the media. Gains: Italy’s political rights rating rose following free and fair national elections and improvements in the country’s anticorruption environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment