World Forum for Democracy
5 to 10 September 2012, Strasbourg, France
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was an active partner in the World Forum for Democracy, which took place in Strasbourg from 5 to 11 October 2012. The Forum was attended by leading international figures, experts from politics, civil society and academia. The aim was to identify new lines of action for strengthening democracy all over the world. Through the exchange of experiences and perceptions, the Congress’ involvement in the main events of the Forum highlighted the importance of the local and regional level in democratic process and the principle of subsidiarity. Congress representatives participated in the plenary session and in several thematic round tables and conferences. (more...)
John Warmisham: ''Building active citizenship goes hand in hand with boosting citizen participation'' [10/10/2012]
“The quality of local democracy is an essential building block for the quality of regional, national and international democracy,” stated John Warmisham, Congress member and the coordinator for the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW), at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, on 10 October. He also addressed the participants on the duty of local authorities to ensure that citizens actively participate in public life and recalled the attributes necessary to achieve this, such as civic and human rights education, as well as access to democratic mechanisms. John Warmisham stressed the need for practical implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level, and the revised European Charter on youth participation at local and regional level.
Participatory democracy: nurturing active citizenship [10/10/2012]
“All democratic public action should focus on citizens as the main political players in the participatory democracy model,” said Andrée Buchmann, member of the Alsace Regional Council (France) and member of the Congress’s Chamber of Regions, speaking at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg on 9 October 2012 during the working session on “Participatory Democracy: the citizen, an active political player”. She highlighted the need to educate citizens “fully informed of their rights and civic duties.” Pointing to the importance of local and regional authorities in this process, and the initiatives of the Congress such as European Local Democracy Week, Ms Buchmann concluded her address underlining the fact that “by introducing education in democratic citizenship at local and regional level, we will provide citizens with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding for participating in democratic processes.”
Strasbourg Club: the Congress advocates education for democratic citizenship [09/10/2012]
“The future of European democracy, including local democracy, is based on building up a participatory democratic model. This meeting of the Strasbourg Club stresses the role not only of active citizenship but also of education for democratic citizenship as vital elements in developing such participation”, said Keith Whitmore, President of the Congress, at the 10th meeting of the Strasbourg Club organised as part of the World Forum for Democracy on 9 October 2012. “We in the Congress are convinced of our duty to support the creation of a general framework for education for democratic citizenship in our societies”, explained Antonella Cagnolati, Director of the Congress, presenting a range of tried and tested tools from all over Europe, including European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) – an annual pan-European event which was initiated by the Congress. She added, “ELDW is an excellent example which is now being implemented by hundreds of municipalities in more than 30 European countries”.
The Forum was opened by Thorbjørn JAGLAND, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Roland RIES, Senator-Mayor of Strasbourg, Ban KI-MOON, Secretary General of the United Nations, Moncef MARZOUKI, President of the Republic of Tunisia and Tawakkol KARMAN from Yemen, the Nobel Peace Prize winner 2011.