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  • Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy

     

  • CONFERENCE CONCEPT

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    Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy 2018

     

    The Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy has been organized since 2012. It brings together civil society activists, academics and government representatives from around the world to discuss ways of promoting democracy. The conference is a platform for exchanging ideas and experiences in the area of consolidating democracy, strengthening democratic institutions, enhancing civil society and upholding human rights. Thus, each year it gives voice to human rights defenders from more than 30 countries and facilitates an exchange of local experiences and know-how.

     

    The 2018 edition will explore themes related to the potential opportunities and challenges coming with new technologies’ growing role in today’s political landscape that affect the processes of democratization and the respect of human rights. Considered as a tool of affordable access to information, efficient channel of communication between voters and politicians, and finally an instrument that played crucial role in the Arab Spring, new technologies entail repercussions that were never anticipated. It is even more important to discuss such modern human rights challenges this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The impact of new technologies is not to be underestimated also with regards to conflict prevention and mediation – an issue to which Poland attaches particular importance as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. These challenges, new phenomena and processes shape what the public nowadays lives in: Democracy 2.0.

     

    Objectives

     

    The Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy 2018 focuses on social media, especially in the wake of fake news and wide-spreading disinformation campaigns, as well as free elections in modern times. Furthermore, it serves to explore the even more important role of new tools of civic and public responsibility. This event will also provide a forum for the discussion on innovative approach to conflict prevention.

     

    Expected Results

     

    The conference will catalogue experiences from different regions in relation to social media, election monitoring, transparent public institutions and modern methods of conflict prevention. It will identify actions that can be taken forward by government, civil society and international organizations. Based on these discussions, a set of concrete recommendations will be elaborated and transmitted to international fora devoted to the promotion of democracy and human rights.  

     

    Methodology 

     

    The program of the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy 2018 will consist of a high-level opening session with the representatives of both international governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as human rights activists and high-level representatives of the Polish MFA. Four panel debates will focus on analysis and possible outcomes. Each panel will host a Q&A interactive session with the audience. On the margin of the conference there will also be workshops for participants which will focus on practical skills.

     

    Panels

     

    1.‘Social media – potential or threat?’ - European Endowment for Democracy. The panelists and audience will concentrate on finding responds to following questions: Will the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data crisis serve as a catalyst to positive changes? What are the next necessary steps needed to avoid further misuse of data? What is the role of the state, corporate sector, such as tech giants, media, civil society?

     

    2. ‘New tools of civic and public responsibility’ - Community of Democracies in partnership with the International IDEA. The session will serve as a platform for experts and practitioners to have an open conversation about the opportunities and challenges new technologies represent in modern democracies, with a focus on identifying and sharing best practices that could feed further reflection and action. Tentative points of discussion may include considerations on: how to increase transparency and accountability in public institutions through technology, and  how to use technology to revise top-down political decision-making processes.

     

    3. ‘Free elections in modern times’ - OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. This  panel discussion will give an opportunity to explore challenges and good practices related to the promotion and implementation of inclusive elections. Panelists from prominent international organizations will share their experiences from across the world, with a particular focus on how new technologies can facilitate or hinder inclusive participation.

     

    4. ‘Innovative approach to conflict prevention’ - Polish Institute of International Affairs. The debate will concern the modern world, plagued by asymmetrical and hybrid threats as well as underdefined conflicts which confronts us with necessity to find practical and legal solutions. Participants will try to find such solutions, bearing in mind the fact, that young people are the cornerstone of sustainable development and lasting peace since they are agents of innovation, development and change.

     

    Civil Society Workshop: ‘Youth & Modern Technology influence on Democracy’ - OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

     

    This provocative and interactive workshop will explore themes related to the intersection of young people and the influence of modern technologies, most notably social media, on democracies in Europe and beyond. The invited discussants will provide examples of successful modern engagement tools in light of various barriers to youth political engagement.

     

    Community of Democracy’s side-event related to the publication “Best practice in Community of Democracies’ member states engagement with and protection of civil society.

     

    The event will consist of the presentation of the publication and a panel discussion on best practice and challenges for the protection of and engagement with civil society. It will serve as an opportunity to discuss the findings of the publication. Tentative points of discussion may include:   

     

    • General trends in civil society space in CoD Governing Council member states.
    • Examples of enabling civil society legal frameworks.
    • Specific steps that have been taken by states to create a safe and enabling environment for civil society.
    • Particular challenges faced by civil society organizations, and steps that states can take to protect civil society organizations.
    • Further recommendations and areas of future research on engagement and protection of civil society.

     

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