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  • Warszawski Dialog na rzecz Demokracji

     

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    1. Devise a canonical, specific definition of democracy that would consist of no more than a few elements so that it is easy to memorize and popularize.

    The meaning of the word itself – democracy – is differently understood in different parts of the world. The indispensable institutions for democracy to take root need to be constantly explained. They are not naturally understood.

     

    2. Ensure people’s ownership and leadership of democratic processes.

    Democracy cannot be imposed as no universal model of democracy exists. Democratic changes will only be sustainable when there is a bottom-up process and when objectives are shared by the society. Therefore, citizens need to be aware of their accountability for creating new rules and be prepared to participate in the governance processes. Public administration must remain open to civil society initiatives and facilitate their implementation. Democracy cannot live in isolation and needs a “helping hand” from those who can provide support.

     

    3. Ensure that democracy support is a joint and coherent activity of states, international organizations and non-governmental actors.

    It is of utmost importance to ensure coherence and complementarity and avoid duplications of activities carried out by states, international and regional organizations, as well as NGOs and civil society. The joint long-term programs of actions may be helpful in this regard.

     

    4. Focus democracy support on constitutional processes, institutional reform, transitional justice and decentralization.

    Democratic institutions are paramount for a long-lasting and stable democracy. Countries that have already created their new political regimes but have a short democratic tradition should be assisted further. Full participation of citizens in the economic, social, cultural or scientific lives of their countries must be ensured.

     

    5. Educate about the potential risks of linking large business and financial markets to democracy – do not obfuscate the risks for democracy of partnerships between democratic and undemocratic states.

    The connection between economy and democracy is understood predominantly negatively. The influence of large businesses, energy market and by extension of the financial market suppresses democracy where it has not yet consolidated.

     

    6. Promote direct “people to people” contact, less government to people. Encourage direct civic participation through the internet and new media.

    The more people do and the society does in the domain of democracy promotion as opposed to governments the better results it yields. Democracy promotion done by governmental agencies associates certain risks and may be discredited. In this regard a significant responsibility relies on international organizations, such as the Council of Europe, as well as innovative approaches such as the European Endowment for Democracy.

     

    7. Support the development of new communication technologies. Support initiatives meant at overcoming the digital gap, increasing digital literacy and access to internet.

    The growing role that new technologies and social media are playing in mobilizing and organizing civil society movements is undeniable. Both opportunities and challenges created by new communication tools were made clear during the “Arab Spring”, when social networks became instrumental in the fight for democracy.

     

    8. Support, protect internet activists and administrators of pro-democracy websites around the world and host the websites themselves in safe servers in democratic countries.

    Support the development of technology that will reduce possibilities to block internet streams.

     

    9. Promote globalization, institutionalization and constitutionalization of democratic norms of freedom of speech in the internet.

    Transparency norms and rules of the on-line media as well as ethical standards should be internationally defined and promoted.

     

    10. Support actions designed to empower people to have access to information. Set international standards, raise awareness and monitor progress in the field of freedom of information.

    Universal access to information is crucial for transitional justice and at the same time an integral part of the human right of freedom of expression. Support in creating environment conducive to facilitate access to information and historical truth is crucial. International organizations may help by developing information standards, assisting in legislative processes that would accelerate archiving or declassification procedures or by strengthening libraries, multimedia centres and archives.

     

    11. Promote reconciliation and prevent retaliation in the process of transitional justice.

    The process of transitional justice is a long and painful one. Whereas justice is undoubtedly a core value of democracy, successful transition should not only focus on judging criminals but also on promoting reconciliation within the society. In this respect, preventing revenge and retaliation and restoring trust in public institutions and services is equally important.

     

    12. Strengthen international efforts aimed at advancing gender equality by providing technical and financial support. Educate, train and support awareness raising campaigns devoted to empowerment of women.

    The empowerment of women boosts economies, productivity and growth. Yet gender inequalities remain. Women are denied their social and economic rights or suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.

     

    13. Forge effective partnerships with women’s grass-root organizations.

    Local entities offer broadest knowledge how to effectively communicate and advance the goals and principles of women in their societies. Processes of planning and implementing of specific initiatives for women should be conducted in close consultation with them.

     

    14. Devise systems for monitoring the progress achieved in implementing women’s rights. Further analyze potential obstacles to effective implementation.

    Set indicators and benchmarks for women's equal participation in all aspects of life, including elections or other political and economic decision-making processes, based on a review of good practices.

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