The United Nations (UN) International Day of Democracy is annually observed across the globe on 15th September to highlight the significance of democracy and to create awareness among the people about democratic rights.
- The day also offers a platform to review the the state of democracy in the world.
The theme of International Day of Democracy 2023 observed on 15th September 2023 is “Empowering the next generation.”
- The 2023 theme focus on the role of the children and young people in advancing democracy and ensuring that their voices are included in the decisions that have a profound impact on their world.
i.On 8th November 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution A/RES/62/7 and proclaimed the 15th September of every year as the International Day of Democracy.
ii.The first International Day of Democracy was observed on 15 September 2008.
Why September 15?
i.On 15th September 1997, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international organisation of National parliaments, adopted the Universal Declaration on Democracy.
ii.This declaration outlined the fundamental principles of democracy, emphasising values such as participation, transparency, and accountability.
iii.The IPU suggested that the occasion be celebrated on September 15 to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Democracy.
i.The word democracy comes from two Greek words: demos, which means “the people”, and kratein, which means “to rule”.
ii.Democracy is a universally recognized ideal and is one of the core values and principles of the UN. Democracy provides an environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.
- According to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right.
iii.UN activities in support of democracy are carried out through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), the Department of Peace Operations (DPO), and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), among others.
- The UNDEF finances projects that empower civil society, promote human rights and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes.
Democracy and Young Generations:
i.Promoting an engaged and well-educated electorate is the cornerstone of robust democratic societies.
ii.Ensuring that young people not only understand the democratic process but also believe that their voices truly matter is of greatest importance.
iii.Young individuals are faced with navigating a complex landscape where democracies confront various threats. These challenges include:
- Online Mis- and Disinformation
- Rising Populism
- Climate Crisis
iv.Addressing the challenges they face and promoting their participation can create a more resilient and inclusive democratic society for generations to come.
- The World Bank has projected that: by the time today’s teenage climate activists reach their late 20s, climate change could force an additional 100 million people into the depths of extreme poverty.
- According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, climate change could lead to an extra 20% rise in malnourished children by 2050.
i.The 2023 International Democracy Day was commemorated with a live event at the Sponsored Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Pavilion, North Lawn at UN Headquarters in New York, the United States of America (USA).
- The event, organized by the UNDEF under the umbrella of the UN Office for Partnerships, serves as a platform to unite civil society representatives, UN officials, and climate activists.
ii.An event ‘Inclusive Democracy for Sustainable Development‘, was organized on 15th September 2023, to deepen the understanding between inclusive democracy, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the forthcoming SDG Summit.
- The event was organized by the intergovernmental organization International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) in partnership with the Global Democracy Coalition and the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN.
About Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU):
President and Head of Executive Committee– Duarte Pacheco
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Established in– 1889