Why is the World Forum for Democracy Special?
The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for global dialogue and democratic participation which brings new ideas into the work of the Council of Europe and promotes its principles across the world. A unique event of its kind, it deals with challenges facing democracy, taking innovative initiatives and practices as a starting point and fostering constructive debate to find solutions. A democratic exercise, the Forum aims at giving the people – demos – their rightful place in political decision-making. It thus contributes to the evolution of democracy towards more participatory and inclusive structures and institutions.
What is the 11th World Forum for Democracy About?
War has once again returned to the European continent. The shock has been such that a renewed appreciation for peace, and worry for the welfare of democracy, has risen within the European and international communities. Armed conflicts, however, had never ceased to be a recurring threat in the world. The post Second World War vision of peace and prosperity, underpinned by democracy, never fully delivered. In the twenty-first century, the question is still open whether this vision can fulfil its promise. At a time when violence rages, inequalities are widening, and politics is polarising – and when governments are struggling to cope with unforeseen events including climate change, pandemics and the rise of new technologies- now is the time to ask: can democracy deliver peace?
What is the Format of the 11th WFD?
The 11th World Forum for Democracy will debate the issues and generate new ideas for tackling the challenges to peace we face today. Plenary sessions will be an opportunity to discuss with speakers from all continents, including politicians, public and private officials, international organisations and civil society. Forum Talks will bring together relevant experts and academics that will share their experience and discuss how to improve the current situation. Forum Labs will allow participants to learn about ground-breaking initiatives that offer responses to the key questions based on an analysis of their real impact and replicability. The initiatives should help them understand how democracy and democratic institutions and practices can help them wage peace and counter causes of war in the societies.
The Labs – Who can Present an Initiative and How?
The labs are the heart of the World Forum for Democracy. Their objective is to address specific issues through the critical analysis of tested initiatives. The selected initiatives, submitted by any public or private organisations, will be presented in short speeches of ten minutes and critically assessed by multidisciplinary panels and participants in the labs. The key conclusions and lessons learnt from the labs will be discussed in a summing up session to prepare the overall conclusions of the Forum. The Forum participants will vote to choose the winner of the Democracy Innovation Award among the presented initiatives.
- These may be for example, but not limited to:
- Innovative forms of civic engagement and public-private partnerships
- Cross-border partnerships related to democratic governance and peacebuilding
- Advocacy for underrepresented groups, women, minorities, children, indigenous communities, immigrants, refugees, and non-citizens (stateless and undocumented persons)
- Fostering democracy and peace through education, new platforms for conflict resolution and peace-building
- Learning from the past, fighting historical revisionism, innovative approaches to presenting the past, i.e. museums, media, collaborative events, documentaries, multi-perspectivity
- Public accountability, anti-corruption, transparency of public and private finance.
- Addressing the wealth gap, new ways of lifting people out of poverty, crowdfunding activism, social enterprises, rural development.
- Reconciliation and trust-building processes, truth-telling, restorative justice.
- Protection for activists promoting peace and non-violence as a way of life.
- Promoting social, economic and or civic empowerment of women and girls.
- Study, data collection or analysis of hate crimes, extremism, inequalities, polarisation, propaganda, cyber warfare etc.
- Alternative economic practices, for example local cooperatives, non-monetary exchange, collective ownership, virtual economies, people-centred businesses, socially responsible financial practices.
- The World Forum for Democracy calls for expressions of interest from innovative initiatives, from all over the world, aiming at enhancing democracy and contributing to sustainable peace.
- Any public or private organisation is eligible to apply. One presenter for the selected initiatives will be invited to Strasbourg to take part in the World Forum. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the Council of Europe if required.
For more information, visit Council of Europe.