International Day of Democracy

On the 15th of September, we celebrate the International Day of Democracy! In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared this day, which annually takes place to raise public awareness about democracy and promote democratic principles.

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The 15th of September marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Democracy. On the International Day of Democracy, the UN invites all member states and organisations worldwide to hold various initiatives to focus on democracy or take part in activities, including discussions and conferences around this UN observance day to endorse democracy and promote democratic values.

Self-assessment and democracy promotion

With the implementation of the International Day of Democracy, the UN peruses the goal to promote the government’s role in maintaining open democracy among all member nations of the UN Charter. This day is an opportunity for all governments to strengthen their national programmes and examine, in a self-assessment, the performance of their parliaments to become more effective and highlight the central responsibility that all parliaments have as the key institution of democracy. Furthermore, regional and intergovernmental organisations have the opportunity to share their own experiences regarding the promotion and consolidation of democracy.

Appeal to action against systemic challenges

The theme for the International Democracy Day 2019 is participation. Since democracy is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation, peace, sustainable development and human rights, it is an opportunity to recall that democracy is about people. It is an appeal to action to continue the dialogue between civil society and the political class. The interaction and the combination of participation, civic space and social dialogue make up the very foundations of good governance. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, the International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers to the systemic challenges it faces such as shrinking (civic) spaces. The Sustainable Development Goal 16 addresses democracy with the promotion of the rule of law, the appeal to strengthen institutions and increase access to justice to work towards peaceful societies and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.

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