International Day of Democracy

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International Day of Democracy
A coloured voting box.svg
A voting box.
Observed by All UN Member States
Date 15 September
Next time 15 September 2015 (2015-09-15)
Frequency annual

In 2007 the United Nations General Assembly resolved to observe 15 September as the International Day of Democracy—with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy—and invited all member states and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.[1]

The preamble of the resolution affirmed that:

Background[edit]

In September 1997 the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) adopted a Universal Declaration on Democracy.[2] That Declaration affirms the principles of democracy, the elements and exercise of democratic government, and the international scope of democracy.

The international conferences on new and restored democracies[3] (ICNRD process) began in 1988 under the initiative of President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines after the so-called peaceful "People Power Revolution" overthrew the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Initially an inter-governmental forum, the ICNRD process developed into a tripartite structure with participation of governments, parliaments and civil society. The sixth conference (ICNRD-6) that took place in Doha, Qatar in 2006 reinforced the tri-partite nature of the process and concluded with a Declaration and Plan of Action which reaffirmed the fundamental principles and values of democracy.

Following up on the outcome of ICNRD-6, an Advisory Board set up by the chair of the process – Qatar – decided to promote an International Day of Democracy. Qatar took the lead in drafting the text of a United Nations General Assembly resolution and convened consultations with UN member states. At the suggestion of the IPU, 15 September (date of the Universal Declaration on Democracy) was chosen as the day when the international community would celebrate each year the International Day of Democracy. The resolution entitled Support by the United Nations system of efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies,[4] was adopted by consensus on 8 November 2007.

Celebrations in 2008[edit]

The IPU has urged parliaments to celebrate the International Day of Democracy through some form of special activity, to be held on or as close to 15 September as possible depending on circumstances. The day will be an opportunity for parliaments to:

  • Emphasize the importance of democracy, what it involves, the challenges it faces as well as the opportunities it offers, and the central responsibility that all parliaments have as the key institution of democracy;
  • Examine and discuss how well parliament performs its democratic functions, possibly on the basis of a self-assessment, and identify what steps it may take to strengthen its effectiveness.

To mark the first International Day of Democracy on 15 September 2008, the IPU will hold a special event at the House of Parliaments in Geneva. National parliaments are invited to organize their own democracy-related activities on that day to highlight the role of parliament as the cornerstone of democracy.

Celebrations in 2013[edit]

In 2013, IPU promoted the International Day of Democracy through its Member Parliaments in 162 countries around the world. As a result, a number of parliaments from all over the globe announced their events to be held on or close to 15 September.[5]

The year's theme was "Strengthening Voices for Democracy" and IPU launched an online contest [6] to hear and gather stories from local democracy champions that managed to make their voices heard. These stories were to inspire people to take action in their own community.

Celebrations in 2014[edit]

The theme for the International Day of Democracy in 2014 is “Engaging youth on democracy”.

IPU has urged action and changes in mindset if disillusioned and alienated youth the world over are to be engaged in political decision-making.


In its press release, IPU President Abdelwahad Radi said, “It is a cliché to always link youth to the future. Young people not only have the power to define the future, but also decide on the present. However, they are largely absent from formal decision-making politics and this has to change.”

The IPU says youth participation has a special meaning for it and that a programme to promote young men and women’s involvement in the democratic process is getting underway, in follow-up to the resolution adopted by the IPU Assembly in 2010. The IPU announced it will organize the first Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians on 10 and 11 October 2014 and all parliaments are invited to attend.

A photo contest titled "Engage for Change" encourages youth to show what action they take to bring about positive change in society by sending a photo that shows them working for positive change in their community, region, country or the world.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]