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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.

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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.

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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..

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2008

(Madrid, October)

"E-democracy: who dares?"

 

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

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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.

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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.

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Launch meeting (Warsaw, November 2005)

"Citizens' participation"

 

 

The discussions addressed the state of contemporary democracy in Europe.

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Previous projects

("Making

Democratic institutions work")

 

Electronic referendum: Europe’s young people vote for democracy in schools “with a click of the mouse”

Strasbourg, 25.10.2004 – A unique project, initiated by the Council of Europe, was completed over the past few days. Over 80 schools, in 20 member states of the Strasbourg-based human rights organisation, took part in an electronic referendum (“e-voting”) on pupil participation in Europe. With a click of the mouse, 94% of the pupils taking part voted in favour of a new school charter, paving the way for more democratic and consequently violence-free schooling throughout Europe.

The electronic referendum on the “European Charter for Democratic Schools without Violence” was carried out in co-operation with the Swiss canton of Geneva, which supplied the Council of Europe with the necessary software and was responsible for the technical aspects of the operation. This was also an opportunity for the Swiss authorities to test whether the electronic system they are already using in local referenda can also be used by Swiss nationals living abroad.

The main objective of the school charter, which was designed by pupils and is based on the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights, is the practical learning of democracy in schools. To improve the school environment, designated school representatives are to be given the right to vote on important issues – for example on how conflicts in schools can be resolved. In this regard, it is recommended that specially trained arbitrators, so-called mediators, should be chosen from among pupils and the teaching staff.

The implementation of the charter’s provisions – which include, in addition to the use of mediators for the rapid settlement of disputes and the prevention of conflicts, the right of every person to equal treatment and respect – will also be a focus of the Council’s European Year of Citizenship through Education, in 2005.

For further information on

    · the electronic referendum, click here
    · the school charter, click here

See also our special file http://www.coe.int/files/e-gouvernance
 

To receive our press releases by e-mail, contact : Council.of.Europe.Press@coe.int

A political organisation set up in 1949, the Council of Europe works to promote democracy and human rights continent-wide. It also develops common responses to social, cultural and legal challenges in its 46 member states.