International day of democracy 2017 theme is "Democracy and Conflict prevention" .
UN announced 15th of September as International Day of Democracy and invited all Member States, non-governmental organizations, organizations and individuals to celebrate the International Day of Democracy in a manner that led to raising public awareness.
UN also invited member states to ensure that parliamentarian and other civil society organizations are given appropriate opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy.
As it is positive sign that UN acknowledges the significance of an international day of democracy, it is also important to emphasis that it is not sufficient just to promote democracy - it is equally imperative to discuss analysis and explore the different facets of democracy.
It is also essential that civil society organizations accept responsibility and take appropriate action to inculcate the agenda of the International Day of Democracy. It must ensure that the debate embodies the issues relevant to the various parts of the population, including the minorities and poor people.
The question may arise what an international day of democracy can accomplish? Well, not much alone. But the essence of the issue lays in the fact that UN member states actually agreed that democracy is worth celebrating and is a serious area of concern. Not too long ago when democracy was considered a contentious and difficult topic in the UN assembly and to some extent it still is, but it signifies an evolution. It manifests that even if democracies face set backs and we may witness some countries’ politics where democracy is rolled back we will also envision democracy as a norm, as a principle. In short, democracy is gaining ground and mobility.
To commemorate the first International Day of Democracy, International IDEA organized an array of activities that focused on specifying the link between democracy, development and distinctions.
On the occasion of first Democracy Day, the African Union Commission and International IDEA launched a Joint Activity Plan for endorsing democracy in Africa. The Plan is focused on the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance that was adopted by the African Union in 2007. It was developed with a mission- while peace and security are of major importance to the region, developing democratic culture and organization is equally imperative and, in the absence of it, neither security nor peace can be survive.
Globally we witness democracy today being challenged in number of ways, rather in every aspect of society:
But we also see signs of hope and promise, by people living in very different societies and under very difficult conditions, demonstrating time and again that they want to have the voice that only democracy can provide them.
Politics matters to the normal lives and though process of people. This is why making democratic system to work better is of key essence to development, peace and security in Africa. It becomes even more important to provide more support to the African Union’s efforts to build system for political engagement.
Building such infrastructure for political evolution can prevent conflict instead of continuing with the too familiar methods of expressing when conflict has already intensified. Building such potential for political engagement can also enable to put in place democratic systems that can better cater to the needs of people for economic and social improvement.
It is also imperative to highlight the needs of democracy to take it to the next level of performance in all relevant countries. Nothing can be considered as powerful as one consolidated democracy. New challenges arise every time and the International Day of Democracy will remind us every year that democracy deserves discussion and should not be considered simply a system to run a country!
The transnational campaign is the common platform for all participating countries and will be the uniting action for the campaign.