These events are just some of the ways in which countries are marking International Day of Democracy 2016, under the theme ‘Democracy 2030’.
Events from around the world will be added as we approach International Day of Democracy and in the weeks following 15 September – so please visit again to see the latest updates.
For International Day of Democracy 2016, the Parliament of Andorra has decided to focus on reduced election turnout, which is a new development in the country. The Parliament is to hold a press conference on this issue on 15 September, at which two studies will be presented. The same subject will be the focus of a conference to be held at the Parliament building on 20 September, which will be open to the public with opportunities for questions and discussion.
Bahrain is celebrating Democracy Day 2016 with the theme ‘Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. In a statement, Information Affairs Minister Ali bin Mohammed Al-Romaihi hailed Bahrain’s democratic strides since His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa launched a reform process.
As a prelude to its Democracy Day celebrations, the Parliament of Bénin is organizing a visit to the hotel PLM Alédjo de Cotonou on 14 September. This hotel is the venue of the historic Conference of Active Forces of the Nation that in February 1990 began the country’s democratic era. On 15 September itself, two activities are planned. A conference and debate will be held, themed on law, justice and peace, and also on attracting young people into parliaments. Additionally, there will be a televised debate on the theme of ‘Benin, Democracy 2030: Youth Engagement’.
The Legislative Assembly and the Department of Citizens’ Participation partnered to commemorate the International Day of Democracy on September 15th. Two forums were organized on the theme “Democracy 2030”. The first forum, titled “Towards an Open State in Costa Rica” took place at the Saint Paul College. The objective of the forum was to expose young students about the importance of strengthening and promoting the idea of open governments. The second forum, titled “The political constitution and Civil rights”, took place at the Costa Rican Parliament and counted with the participation of young university students from the Costa Rica University Law school. The forum, organized for the fourth time, discussed the possible changes on the Costa Rican political constitution in the XXI century.
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is urging all parliaments and political parties of the EAC Partner States to celebrate International Day of Democracy on 15 September 2016 by having specific programmes facilitating and promoting young people’s participation in society – including in decision-making and politics.
On 30 August 2016, EALA debated and passed a motion – moved by Hon Nusura Tiperu – for the Assembly to celebrate Democracy Day. The Assembly also resolved to mark the day by setting an agenda for discussion that ensures the political participation of young people as the region embraces the future of democracy. In a subsequent statement, EALA highlighted IPU’s Democracy Day 2016 theme of Democracy 2030. Click here for more details.
The European Parliament – in cooperation with the European External Action Service and in partnership with the Office of International IDEA in Brussels, European Endowment for Democracy, European Partnership for Democracy and European Network of Political Foundations – is hosting an event marking International Day of Democracy in Brussels on 28 September 2016. The meeting will be hosted by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, and will bring together intergovernmental and civil society organisations active in the field of democracy support. It will provide an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of key ingredients of democracy today such as representation, accountability, participation, inclusion and education.
In Fiji, Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni will give a keynote address at a Youth Forum at the Labasa Civic Centre on 14 September to mark International Day of Democracy. The theme is Democracy 2030 - My Parliament, My Future. Youth speakers will discuss their views on Parliament, its relevance and how it would impact their future as young people and future leaders.
The Parliament of India will commemorate International Day of Democracy on 15 September. The country’s Lok Sabha Television (LSTV) will mark the day by broadcasting a programme on the theme Democracy 2030, with the programme to be repeated in different time slots during the following six days.
In Israel, parliamentarians celebrated Democracy Day by recording video messages in different languages about what democracy means to them, linked to IPU’s theme of Democracy 2030. MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) spoke in English, MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) in French, MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) in Spanish, MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) in Arabic, and Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee chairman Ya’acov Margi (Shas) in Hebrew. For more details and to watch the videos, see the Jerusalem Post’s report here.
Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies plans to hold an open day on 24 September. The event will feature guided tours and meetings with parliamentarians, and citizens will be able to learn more about parliament’s work. In September, the Chamber will also launch an Instagram account to further share information about its work with the public, in particular with young people.
The Parliament of Montenegro marked Democracy Day with two events. On 13 September, the parliament organized a ceremony at which certificates were awarded to participants of its democracy education program. President of Parliament Darko Pajović awarded certificates to the representatives of almost 2,600 participants, who attended workshops on ‘Democracy and Parliament’, ‘European Union’ and ‘Human Rights’ earlier this year. The ceremony gathered representatives of more than 40 elementary schools, students and teachers, MPs, ambassadors and NGO representatives.
On 15 September, a workshop on ‘Democracy and Parliament’ was held, at which elementary school students and trainers discussed democracy in 2030, including the future of elections.
Myanmar celebrated International Day of Democracy with an event in Nay Pyi Taw on 15 September, at which a statement from IPU’s Secretary-General was read to participants. President U Htin Kyaw reportedly highlighted the importance of recognising the voices and rights of minorities, in a formal address read out on his behalf at the ceremony. In a speech marking the day, lower house Speaker U Win Myint reportedly contrasted dictatorships with democratic systems, imploring Myanmar’s people to protect the country’s nascent democracy.
The Parliament of Namibia will commemorate International Day of Democracy during the morning of 15 September 2016 in the National Assembly Chamber, under the theme Democracy 2030. Discussions will focus on how democracy may change between now and 2030; how the parliament can ensure young people’s political participation and also prepare for democracy’s future; and how to connect the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the democratic values of participation, inclusiveness and accountability.
Hon. Prof. Peter H Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly, will officially open the event. Representatives from government, civil society and youth will give presentations and debates in a parliamentary style debate. Some 90 students from universities and high schools, and representatives from the National Youth Council, are expected to take part. Members of the public are invited to attend the event, which will also be televised live on NBC TV. The electorate, in particular young people, is being encouraged to tune into the televised broadcast channel and also to follow the event on Facebook and on Twitter under the hashtag #democracydaynam2016.
In Peru, a week of activities will mark International Day of Democracy, with the main day taking place on 15 September itself. The country’s Democracy Week – sponsored by the First Vice-President, in cooperation with the Office of Participation, Outreach and Citizen Liaison – began on 12 September. Activities will include a Parliament and University School Parliament on 12 and 13 September, with secondary and university level students attending workshops and learning about the roles of Congress and parliamentary work, and learning what it is like to take part in parliamentary groups and commissions, debates and votes on bills.
On the afternoon of 14 September, a "Democracy in Peru" forum at the Conference Hall Raúl Porras Barrenechea will highlight how public and private institutions promote democracy in the country, with the participation of the United Nations in Peru, Institute of Peruvian Studies and International Idea. On the main day, 15 September, a "Democracy are all" event in the Plaza Bolivar by the Legislative Palace will bring together representatives of public and private institutions, parliamentary groups and civil society organizations, to share information about democracy. The central is "Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". Click here for more details.
As proposed by the President of the Romanian IPU Group, the 2016 edition of the International Day of Democracy was marked in the Parliament by statements in the plenum of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The statements were delivered by the President of the Romanian IPU Group, Mr. Ion Stan and by a member of the Executive Bureau of the Romanian IPU Group, Mr. Dumitru Oprea.
A special section was created on the Senate’s website.
The Parliament of Uganda is marking International Day of Democracy with the theme ‘Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ As well as celebrating democracy, the day is being used as a time to reflect on the state of democracy in the country and how it can impact on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. A radio talk show was broadcasted on 13 September, while on 15 September Parliament will hold a panel discussion comprising of MPs, academia, development partners and civil society.
On International Day of Democracy, MPs, representatives of the parliamentary secretariat, and NGOs will gather in Ukraine to discuss open parliament principles. The event aims to establish a more effective cooperation between the MPs, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Secretariat, and the public to implement the principles of the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness, which Ukraine formally endorsed on February 5, 2016. The main focus of the event will be openness of the committees and an explanation of monitoring instruments and public engagement. The event is organized under the framework of the Rada for Europe Project, implemented by UNDP Ukraine and funded by the European Union.
On 15 September, British Group of IPU Executive Committee member Lord Purvis of Tweed led a roundtable discussion among experts from a range of development bodies and civil society organisations on ‘Parliamentary Oversight of the Global Goals’. Discussions highlighted IPU’s work on encouraging parliaments across the world to play leading roles in the implementation of the Global Goals, including in holding governments to account in meeting their core commitments. Ongoing engagement between parliament, development agencies and civil society was seen as key to this process.
The roundtable provided a key opportunity to increase awareness of the role IPU is playing in promoting the role of parliaments on the 2030 Agenda and to hear the views of development experts on what more the UK Parliament should be doing to ensure effective UK implementation of the Global Goals.
To commemorate International Day of Democracy, the Uruguayan Legislative Palace Library and the Inter-Parliamentary Union Group are organizing an event called “Democracy 2030”.
The event will count with the participation of high school students, which were democratically elected as representatives of their class. The responsibility was given to María Victoria Nuñez, Andy Caetano Maya and Melani Rodríguez Vaz from “Vichadero High school”; Ana Paula Borraz, Federico Pereyra and Alfonso García, from “Seminario and Virginia Cibils”; and Francis Martínez and Ailén Pennino from High school Nº 17 “Francisco Acuña de Figueroa”.
They will give a five minute presentation on their reflections on Democracy 2030. Afterwards, Senator Ivonne Passada and MPs Ope Pasquet, Gustavo Penadés, Iván Posada and Eduardo Rubio will comment on the presentations. Click here for more details (in Spanish).
IPU’s Zambia National Group will celebrate International Day of Democracy with activities themed on Democracy 2030 at the country’s Parliament Buildings on Monday 10 October 2016. Young people will debate whether there are enough opportunities for youth to contribute effectively to the growth of Zambia’s democracy and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Participants will also be able to interact with Members and staff of Parliament, and to engage on national and global issues.
Secondary schools from each province will take part in a debate contest during the day, with participants debating for or against the motion ‘Are there enough opportunities for youths to contribute effectively to the growth of Zambia’s Democracy and the realization of Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030?’ There will also be an Open Day at Parliament Buildings – to which 10 schools from Lusaka’s townships will be invited to observe the activities marking Democracy Day. A cultural group will provide entertainment.
Parliamentarians from different countries will debate with graduate students and an international and local audience in Geneva on the future of democracy. Faced with a rise in populisms and rejection of political elites, do our institutions need to change? This event is part of a programme of activities for Geneva’s Democracy Week.
The third annual GLOW (Global Legislative Openness Week) runs from 12-18 September 2016. This week of openness activities around the world is hosted by the Legislative Openness Working Group of the Open Government Partnership and members of the parliamentary openness community. The objective is to collaborate in order to make progress in terms of adopting and implementing openness commitments.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance is organizing a conference to focus on democratic politics. The conference will concentrate on the opportunities, limitations and prospects of participatory democracy in Sweden, Europe and worldwide.
The United Nations’ theme for International Day of Democracy 2016 is ‘Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development'. The UN will be highlighting the 2030 Agenda – a plan for achieving a better future for all, laying out a path over 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet – and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
On 15 September, a special UN event on this theme will be held at UN Headquarters in New York, organised by the UN Working Group on Democracy. This will feature remarks by Under-Secretary-General David Nabarro, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Ms. Paddy Torsney, Permanent Observer to the UN of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and Mr. Diego Firpo, Chief Executive Officer, Un Techo para mi País. Moderator will be Ms. Teresa Whitfield, Officer in Charge, Policy and Mediation Division, UN Department of Political Affairs. Questions from the floor will be welcome.
Between 14-18 September 2016, the fourth annual Athens Democracy Forum will feature debates on religion, migration, power and money, hosted and moderated by New York Times editors. Held each year to coincide with International Day of Democracy, the Athens Democracy Forum brings to Athens an impressive roster of politicians, policy makers, journalists, scholars and experts from the fields of business, finance and technology.
During the week beginning 12 September, openDemocracy in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy is introducing a series of articles focused on 'gender as a lens for democratic progress'.
On International Day of Democracy on 15 September, openDemocracy's Editor-at-Large Benjamin Ramm will have a wide-ranging conversation with Greek historian and author of ‘Democracy: A Life’, Paul Cartledge about democracy as an idea and ideal. Click here for more details.
parliamentarians whose cases are being studied by IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians