The International Day of Democracy, celebrated on September 15th each year, stands as a worldwide tribute to the profound significance of democracy as a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of effective governance and global tranquility. This commemorative day, established in 2007 via a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, serves as an annual reminder of democracy’s pivotal role in molding societies on a global scale.
Democracy, etymologically rooted in the Greek words ‘demos’ (signifying a citizen of a city-state) and ‘kratos’ (conveying ‘power’ or ‘rule’ in terms of governance), holds a central position within the United Nations’ core values. It embodies principles such as the reverence for human rights, the safeguarding of fundamental freedoms, and the practice of conducting regular and authentic elections through universal suffrage. At its essence, democracy empowers individuals to elect their leaders and actively participate in shaping decisions that influence their lives.
The theme for the 2023 International Day of Democracy is “Empowering the next generation.” This theme accentuates the crucial role that young people play in advancing democracy and underscores the significance of integrating their voices into decisions that profoundly impact their world. Acknowledging and nurturing youth engagement in democratic processes holds profound implications for the future of democracy.
The United Nations acknowledges that democracy is not an endpoint but an ongoing journey. The International Day of Democracy offers an annual occasion to assess the state of democracy on a global scale. It underscores that the aspiration of democracy can only be realized with the full engagement and support of the international community, national governing bodies, civil society, and individuals.
Each year, a multitude of events and activities are orchestrated worldwide to commemorate the International Day of Democracy. These initiatives often revolve around the designated theme while consistently promoting and upholding democratic values. The United Nations, in collaboration with diverse organizations, convenes conferences, dialogues, and seminars to engage the global community in discussions regarding democracy’s indispensable role in our societies.
The roots of the International Day of Democracy trace back to the Universal Declaration on Democracy, endorsed on September 15, 1997, by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international body representing national parliaments. Subsequently, Qatar spearheaded efforts to advocate for the establishment of an International Day of Democracy. Ultimately, on November 8, 2007, the UNGA embraced a resolution titled “Support by United Nations system of efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies” by consensus, thereby formalizing the day.
In observance of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Democracy, the IPU proposed the celebration of the International Day of Democracy on September 15, exactly a decade later. The inaugural celebration occurred in 2008, and since then, it has evolved into an annual occasion for reaffirming our unwavering commitment to democratic values and principles.
In conclusion, the International Day of Democracy transcends mere celebration; it issues a resounding call to action. It underscores democracy’s critical role in safeguarding human rights, fostering civic engagement, and ensuring global peace and stability. This day serves as a poignant reminder that democracy is a continual voyage, and it is imperative to empower the next generation in crafting a more democratic and inclusive future.