International Day of Democracy

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International Day of Democracy
A voting box
Observed byAll UN member states
Date15 September
Next time15 September 2024 (2024-09-15)
First timeSeptember 2008; 15 years ago (2008-09)

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]

…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region... …democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.


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 tripartite 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, on 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, titled "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.




The theme for 2009 was "Democracy and political tolerance".[5] At the U.N. Headquarters there was a speech by the Secretary-General and a screening of the documentary film Please Vote for Me.[6]


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.[7]

The year's theme was "Strengthening Voices for Democracy" and IPU launched an online contest[8] 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.


The theme for the International Day of Democracy in 2014 is "Engaging youth on democracy".[9]

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[10] adopted by the IPU Assembly in 2010. The IPU announced it would organize the first Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians on 10 and 11 October 2014 and all parliaments were invited to attend.

A photo contest[11] 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.


The theme for 2015 was "Space for Civil Society".


The theme for 2016 was Democracy and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.


The theme for 2017 was "Democracy and Conflict Prevention".[12]


The theme for 2018's observance was "Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World". Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Day is also an opportunity to highlight the values of freedom and respect for human rights as essential elements of democracy.[13]


The 2019 theme for democracy day was "participation".[14]

"This year's International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to recall that democracy is about people. Democracy is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation—and it is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development, and human rights."[15]


The theme for International Day of Democracy 2020 was "COVID-19: A Spotlight on Democracy".[citation needed]


The theme for International Day of Democracy 2021 was "Strengthening democratic resilience in the face of future crises".


The theme for International Day of Democracy 2022 is "Protecting Press Freedom for Democracy".


The theme for International Day of Democracy 2023 is "Empowering the next generation".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 62 Resolution 7. Support by the United Nations system of the efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies A/RES/62/7 page 3. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  2. ^ "Universal Declaration on Democracy". Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  3. ^ " - This website is for sale! - icnrd Resources and Information". Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2016. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  4. ^ United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/62/7 "Support by the United Nations system of the efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies"
  5. ^ "International Day of Democracy 2009: Political tolerance".
  6. ^ "UNDEF - Secretary General celebrates with UNDEF on International Day of Democracy". 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012.
  7. ^ "International Day of Democracy: Events". Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  8. ^ "International Day of Democracy: Get Involved". Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  9. ^ Nations, United. "International Day of Democracy | Past events". United Nations. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  10. ^ "122nd IPU Assembly: Substantive item 3". Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  11. ^ "International Day of Democracy: Events". Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Statement by the Prime Minister on International Day of Democracy". Prime Minister of Canada. 15 September 2017.
  13. ^ Jatinder, Kaur. "International Day of Democracy Reminds Democracy under Strain". No. Online. ABC Live India. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  14. ^ "International Day of Democracy 2019: Current Theme and Significance". 14 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  15. ^ "International Day of Democracy, 15 September". Retrieved 15 September 2019.

External links[edit]