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Forum History

 

The Forum was established by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe  (Warsaw, May 2005), to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens' participation.

(...)

Forum previous sessions

Forum_Democracy2011

(Limassol, Cyprus, October)

Interdependence of democracy and social cohesion.

New: Proceedings

"Radical measures taken in many countries to try to balance public budgets are both necessary and understandable” but  “Countries are running a high risk of seriously undermining the European model of social cohesion.”  declared Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland while opening the Cyprus Forum.

2010

(Yerevan, October)

Perspectives 2020 Democracy in Europe - Principles and Challenges

Proceedings

 

''The Council of Europe has a unique strategic role to play in strengthening good democratic governance at all levels in the European space''. Democracy, or rather good democratic governance, is now not only intrinsically linked to the respect of human rights but is also recognised as the most effective form of governance to ensure stability, sustainability and well-being.

 That was the main message of the 2010 Forum.

(...)

 

2009

(Kyiv, October)

Electoral systems: strengthening democracy in the 21st century

(Proceedings)

 "In a genuine democracy, the citizen is sovereign and the voter decides" - that was the main message of the 2009 Forum, which highlighted the need for greater public involvement, with a view to increasing voter turnout and ensuring that all stages of public life are democratic..

(...)

 

2008

(Madrid, October)

"E-democracy: who dares?"

 

The discussions addressed the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on democracy.

(...)

 

2007

(Stockholm, June)

"Power and empowerment - The interdependence of democracy and human rights"

 

This event addressed issues such as the role and responsibilities of the opposition, representative democracy at the local and regional level, empowerment of the individual and non-discrimination, respect for freedom of expression and association for civil society, and fostering democracy, human rights and social networks.

 (...)

 

2006

(Moscow, October)

"The role of political parties in the building of democracy"

 

The Forum reflected on  the role and responsibilities of political parties in finding democratic solutions to contemporary challenges, the interaction between political parties and with other actors in the democratic process, and the building and strengthening of democratic institutions.

(...)

 

Launch meeting (Warsaw, November 2005)

"Citizens' participation"

 

 

The discussions addressed the state of contemporary democracy in Europe.

(...)

Previous projects

("Making

Democratic institutions work")

 

Government of Armenia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Gouvernement de l’Arménie
Ministère des affaires étrangères

Strasbourg 19 October 2010

FFD (2010) 5E

Council of Europe
Forum for the Future of Democracy

Government Guest House
Yerevan, Armenia

19-21 October 2010

Perspectives 2020
Democracy in Europe -
Principles and Challenges

PROGRAMME

The working languages of the Forum are English, French, Armenian and Russian

Background

The Council of Europe’s Forum for the Future of Democracy was established in 2005 by the Warsaw Summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government as a multi-partner process aiming to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens’ participation in member states1.

Basing itself on common principles deriving from the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe acquis in the field of democracy, the Forum anticipates global and European trends and examines the performance of democratic institutions, processes and practices in Europe as they respond to contemporary challenges in a rapidly changing environment.
By involving governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities and civil society, the Forum provides an inclusive framework within which innovative ideas and thinking on democratic governance are shaped and debated within a broad and cross-cutting approach. The Forum’s outcomes contribute to the formulation of priorities and policies at both national and European levels, thereby contributing to the enhancement of the Council of Europe’s democracy pillar.
The first five annual sessions of the Forum were held in different European capital cities and considered the achievements and challenges of key aspects of democracy in Europe: civil participation, the role of political parties, the interdependence of democracy and Human Rights, e-democracy, and electoral systems.
Building upon these first five years, the Yerevan Forum is expected to provide orientation on how the Council of Europe could support the improvement of good democratic governance in its member states. This would include:

    - an indicative list of strategic tools based on the existing acquis on democratic principles as a basis and structuring element for further work by the Forum over the next few years;
    - a roadmap for the next phase of the Forum process, including proposals for issues, in particular transversal ones, that may be addressed in intermediary thematic events. These would provide input to the next Forum plenary session.

The Forum might, in a perspective beyond 2010, focus on shaping democracy within an evolving context of democratic governance, based on a set of pointers deriving from the common principles on democracy. Such pointers would make it possible to better compare and analyse key challenges facing political actors and societies by sectoral and, increasingly, cross-sectoral approaches, thus facilitating the formulation of innovative solutions at both the national and European levels.

Day 1: Tuesday 19 October

12 noon Registration

2 p.m. Opening of the Forum for the Future of Democracy 2010

      × Mr Edward NALBANDIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs
      of Armenia

        M. Zoran PETROV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", representing the Chair of the Committee of Ministers

      × Lord PRESCOTT, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, on behalf of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly
      × Mr Vuk JEREMIĆ, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Serbia

2.45 p.m. Keynote speech
Chair: . Mr MICALLEFF, President a.i. of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

3.30 p.m. Introductory panel debate (Link to video)

      “The main trends in, and threats to, democratic governance”

      Moderator: Mr Christian MAKARIAN, co-managing editor, L’Express, France

    . Ms Kim CAMPBELL, Former Prime Minister of Canada
    . Mr Thomas HAMMARBERG, Council of Europe Commissioner

. Ambassador Maria LEISSNER, Swedish Ambassador

      for Democracy
      × Lord PRESCOTT, Former Deputy Prime Minister of the

        United Kingdom

      × Mr Roland RICH, Executive Head, United Nations

        Democracy Fund

5 p.m. – 5.45 p.m. Democracy Fair

      inaugurated by Mr Jean-Marie HEYDT, President of the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) of the Council of Europe

6.30 p.m. Welcome reception (Marriott Hotel)

      hosted by Mr Edward NALBANDIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia

Day 2: Wednesday 20 October

9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. First set of parallel working sessions (1A, 2A, 3A: details on following pages)

12.30 p.m. – 2 p.m. Buffet lunch and Democracy Fair

      and a thematic presentation on ’Applying the Code of Good Practice on Civil Participation in the Decision-making Process’ at 1.30 p.m.

2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Second set of parallel working sessions (1B, 2B, 3B: details on following pages)

5 p.m. – 5.30 p.m. Democracy Fair

Day 3: Thursday 21 October

10 a.m. Round table discussion of the workshop findings with the three

      Working Session discussants (Link to video)

      Moderator: Mr Davit HARUTYUNYAN, Chair of the Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

        General Rapporteur of the Forum

      × Discussant for theme 1:

        Mr Yuri DZHIBLADZE, President of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russian Federation

      × Discussant for theme 2:

        Mr Pavol DEMES, Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund, United States of America

      × Discussant for theme 3:

        Ms Helen DARBISHIRE, Executive Director, Access Info Europe, Spain

11.20 a.m. Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO, President of the Venice Commission

11.30 a.m. Coffee break

12.00 a.m. Closing session of the Forum

    (followed by a press conference)

      × Mr Thorbjørn JAGLAND, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
      × Mr Edward NALBANDIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs
      of Armenia

Theme 1: Law and Democracy

    Parallel working session 1A

Wednesday 20 October
9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Coffee break mid-morning

Session report

The impact of European law and case-law on shaping democracy

    At the judicial level, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights have set important benchmarks for the working methods and legitimacy of those exercising responsibility in democratic governance and taking political decisions.

    At the legal level, the Venice Commission has contributed to ensuring that democratic processes abide by fundamental legal principles by providing impartial advice to states which are drafting or revising constitutions or implementing legislation.

    * * *

    - What has been the impact of the case law of the Convention system and the Court on fostering democratic governance in national legal systems and how have they contributed to strengthening democracy in member states?

    - How have the opinions and studies of the Venice Commission been instrumental in strengthening democratic functioning of member state institutions and to what extent have they influenced established practices?

    - What role could the institutions and their jurisprudence play to ensure that democracy and its practices evolve in line with shifting paradigms?

    Moderator:
    Ms Lina PAPADOPOULOU, Assistant Professor for Constitutional Law, University of Thessaloniki, Greece and Collaborator of the European Public Law Association (EPLO)

    Author of the Issue paper for Workshop 1A:
    Ms Başak ÇALI, Lecturer in Human Rights, University College London, United Kingdom
    and Ms Anne KOCH, Senior researcher, Hertie School of Governance, Germany

    Discussant for theme 1:
    Mr Yuri DZHIBLADZE, President of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russian Federation

    Speakers:
    × Mr Jan BORGEN, Deputy Secretary General, International Commission
    of Jurists, Switzerland
    × Mr Krzysztof DRZEWICKI, Adviser to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of

      Poland and Chair of International Law, University of Gdansk

Theme 1: Law and Democracy

Parallel working session 1B
Wednesday 20 October
2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Coffee break mid-afternoon

Should there be a ‘right to democracy’ ?

    With a view to strengthening deep security the Council of Europe and other international bodies have produced a wide array of conventions and charters over the past sixty years that impact directly on the mode of governance within its member states. International legal and academic literature suggests that this would amount to a “right to democracy”.

    * * *

    - Do the acquis of the Council of Europe distill into a right to democracy?

    - Would the “democracy pillar” of the Council of Europe be strengthened by enshrining such a right, as is the case for the 1990 Copenhagen Document of the OSCE, the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance?

    Moderator:
    Ms Lucig DANIELIAN, Dean of the School of Political Science and International Affairs, American University of Armenia

    Author of the Issue paper for Workshop 1B:
    Mr Peter ASHMAN, Human Rights and Democracy advisor, United Kingdom

    Discussant for theme 1:
    Mr Yuri DZHIBLADZE, President of the Center for the Development of Democracy
    and Human Rights, Russian Federation

    Speakers:

      × Mr Andreas GROSS, member of the Swiss delegation to the
      Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
      × Ambassador Istvan GYARMATI, President and CEO, Centre for Democratic Transition, Hungary
      × Mr Marcin WALECKI, Chief of Democratic Governance Unit,
      Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE, Poland

Theme 2: Institutions and Democratic Governance

Parallel working session 2A
Wednesday 20 October
9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Coffee break mid-morning

Session Report

Democracy and Representation

    Throughout Europe there is widespread public discontent and disappointment with political parties and traditional forms of representation and it may be argued that the traditional democratic institutions no longer adequately meet the needs of the citizens.

    This challenge is encouraging both governments and civil society to explore innovative and more inclusive forms of dialogue, responsiveness, and representativity in order to reinforce participation. At the same time, new forms of organisation and communication require thorough analysis to ensure their legitimacy and their capacity to really strengthen democratic governance.

    * * *

    - Will representative democracy continue to exist in the future? In what form?

    - What alternative forms of democratic governance (for example direct or participatory) can be discerned as providing viable alternatives for the future?

    - What role can and should the Council of Europe play to ensure that its core norms and values are respected in these new models?

    Moderator:
    Mr Nick THORPE, journalist and political analyst, United Kingdom

    Author of the Issue paper for Workshop 2A:
    Mr Alexander TRECHSEL, Professor of Political Science, European University Institute,
    Italy

    Discussant for theme 2:
    Mr Pavol DEMES, Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund,
    United States of America

    Speakers:
    × Mr Chuck HIRT, Central and Eastern European Citizens’ Network,

      Council of Europe Conference of INGOs

    × Mr Alexander ISKANDARYAN, Director, Caucasus Institute, Armenia
    × Mr Günther KRUG, Vice-President of the Congress and Head of

      the German Delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
      . Ms Sonja LICHT, President of the Foreign Policy Council, Director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Serbia
      . Mr Jiri PEHE, Director, New York University in Prague, Czech Republic


Theme 2: Institutions and Democratic Governance

    Parallel working session 2B

Wednesday 20 October
2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Coffee break mid-afternoon

Democracy and Global Governance

    The hastened pace of globalisation over the past twenty years and the increased complexities of multi-level governance mean that the roles of states, international institutions and civil society in decision-making processes need to evolve continuously.

    Many aspects of citizens’ daily lives are no longer within the remit of national governments or may be well beyond their control. This has serious repercussions on citizens’ trust and on their participation in democratic institutions whose powers are effectively limited.

    * * *

    - What role should the Council of Europe and other stakeholders play in the ongoing debate on global governance and in creating a climate which encourages people to believe in and adhere to the principles of democratic governance?

    - What steps could be taken to ensure greater democratic performance of international institutions and to strengthen global deep security?

    Moderator and author of the Issue paper for Workshop 2B:
    Mr Daniele ARCHIBUGI, Professor, Italian National Research Council and Birkbeck
    College, United Kingdom

    Discussant for theme 2:
    Mr Pavol DEMES, Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund,
    United States of America

    Speakers:

      × Mr Bob BONWITT, Head of Sigma Programme, joint initiative of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) and
      the European Union
      × Ms Sabine DONNER, Senior Project Manager Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany

    × Ms Avri DORIA, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Non
    Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG), ICANN

      × Mr Anthony DWORKIN, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations, United Kingdom
      × Ms Keboitse MACHANGANA, Head of Democracy Assessment and Analysis, International IDEA, Sweden

Theme 3:
Live Democracy

    Parallel working session 3A

Wednesday 20 October
9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Coffee break mid-morning

Session report

Sustainable Communities for a Living Democracy

    Environmental degradation and economic crises are posing new, urgent and unpredictable risks to traditional forms of democratic practices. Increasingly, citizens are seeking ways to set the agenda for economic and environmental change and to develop viable democratic practices which prioritise well-being over traditional notions of profit or material success.

    As working session 2B examines the needs for strengthening global democratic governance, this session will concentrate on innovative bottom-up initiatives in response to the pressing global and local issues.

    * * *

    - What innovative forms of local democratic governance are emerging?

    - How can the Council of Europe better stimulate the evolution of innovative democratic practices?

    Moderator
    Mr Andrey RYABOV, Chief editor, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Federation

    Author of the Issue paper for Workshop 3A:
    Mr Julian POPOV, Chair of the Bulgarian School of Political Studies

    Discussant for theme 3:
    Ms Helen DARBISHIRE, Executive Director, Access Info Europe, Spain

    Speakers:

      × Mr Edward ANDERSSON, Deputy Director, Involve, United Kingdom
      × Mr Nils EHLERS, The Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe
      (IRI Europe), Germany
      × Mr Paul WIDMER, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to

    the Council of Europe
    × Mr Emin YERITSYAN, Head of the Armenian delegation and

      Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

Theme 3:
Live Democracy

    Parallel working session 3B

Wednesday 20 October
2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Coffee break mid-afternoon

Democratic Political Culture: Democracy’s Oxygen

    Democratic institutions and practices are only viable if they are imbued with a broadly shared democratic political culture. However, such a culture in Europe faces serious challenges from issues as diverse as the growing heterogeneity of European societies, corruption (including in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns), populism, media manipulation, overplayed vested interests and political disaffection. The risks posed by a weakening democratic culture poses a direct threat to deep security.
    Fortunately, there are fine examples and case studies in Europe and around the world of both bottom-up initiatives and top-down strategies to strengthen a democratic culture at all levels. These should be used to re-invigorate or even re-invent how democracy is experienced on a daily basis.

    * * *

    - Does the Council of Europe do enough to identify the threats as well as the new ways of building up, for example, community responsibility, intercultural dialogue, democratic education and civil participation?

    Moderator :
    Mr Tony HALPIN, Times newspaper Moscow Bureau Chief, Russian Federation

    Author of the Issue paper for Workshop 3B:
    Ms Alina MUNGIU-PIPPIDI, Professor of Democracy Studies, Hertie School
    of Governance, Germany

    Discussant for theme 3:
    Ms Helen DARBISHIRE, Executive Director, Access Info Europe, Spain

    Speakers:
    × Ms Ligia DECA, Head, Bologna Process Secretariat, Romania
    × Mr Yves-Marie DOUBLET, Scientific expert, Council of

      Europe's Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)
      × Ms Muriel MARLAND-MILITELLO, member of the French delegation
      to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

. Mr Miklos MARSCHALL, Regional Director for Europe and Central

      Asia, Transparency International, Germany

    × Ms Gudrun MOSLER TÖRNSTRÖMmember of the Austrian delegation

      to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Vice-President
      of the State Parliament of Salzburg.

1 At the Warsaw Summit, the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe decided “to establish, within the existing structures of the Organisation as a whole, a Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens’ participation, keeping in mind, inter alia, the conclusions of the Barcelona Conference from 17 to 19 November 2004. It shall be open to all member states and civil society, represented by policy makers, officials, practitioners or academics. It shall enable the exchange of ideas, information and examples of best practices, as well as discussions on possible future action. The Forum will act in close co-operation with the Venice Commission and other relevant Council of Europe bodies with a view to enhancing, through its reflection and proposals, the Organisation’s work in the field of democracy.”