ALDA is a full partner of the World Forum for Democracy taking place from 5 to 11 October 2012 in Strasbourg, France. Organised by the Council of Europe, the Forum was opened by international key figures such as United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Ms. Tawakkol Karman (Yemen), Nobel Peace Prize winner 2011.
ALDA is present in the organisation of the Forum and in person with its President, Oriano Otočan, and Director, Antonella Valmorbida interventions.
Speaking at the opening of the Word Democracy Forum, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that there is a pressing thirst of dignity throughout the world following the demands for democracy in North Africa, the Middle East and beyond in the last two years. Ban Ki-moon recalled that the UN member States have clearly defined democracy as a universal value. “Now we must listen to the people”, he highlighted, and “we must remind governments when they do not comply with their international law obligations”. Finally he recalled that establishing democracy is not only “giving citizens a voice”, but also promoting economic and social development.
“Democracy as a system that enshrines universal values. Democracy as an agent of peace. Democracy as a guarantor of progress and prosperity”. Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland opened the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy, highlighting the unique role of democracy around the globe.
Yemeni journalist and peace prize winner Tawakkol Karman launched a plea for mercy in Syria during the open ceremony of the Forum as she told of her “despair” at the human suffering.
Ms Karman called for support for the Syrian people, and for the UN to act wherever injustice was found. “Governments worldwide must commit to international rights law to create change in a world where liberty was being trampled by dictators”, she said.
This Forum gathers around 1000 participants from more than 100 countries that will be debating the question of democracy: “Bringing the gap: democracy between old models and new realities”. Leading public figures, political and academic experts, national and European parliamentarians and local elected representatives will participate in the discussions alongside civil society activists, bloggers in public workshops on democratic governance, public participation, responsible journalism etc.
ALDA President, Mr. Oriano Otočan, will be panelist of Democracy round table on “Regionalisation and democracy” (Wednesday 10th October, 5 to 7pm), organised by the Assembly of European Regions, the Congress of the Council of Europe, and the Alsace Region.
ALDA Director, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, will be panelist at the conference on “Contribution of women to the advancement of democracy” (Tuesday, 9th October, 6 pm).
ALDA will also attend to the Civil society debate organised by the Conference of INGOs (Sunday 7th October, 9:30 am to 5:30pm).
ALDA is strongly supporting the development of democracy and the new models of citizens’ participation in the areas such as the Balkans, Caucasus and MED countries. Being an important stakeholder in these geographic areas, ALDA contributes to the general reflection about the democratic challenges on global level.