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Building sustainable democracy in Bhutan: Findings from International IDEA’s high-level visit

Bhutan is halfway through its second five-year electoral cycle and unsurprisingly everyone we talked to during the recent high-level visit felt its transition to democracy is not over yet. 

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The Asia-Pacific region is a centre of political and economic change with vastly diverse societies: some are firmly established democracies, others are undergoing democratic transition, while some face a long and difficult road to any form of democracy and rule of law.   

We work with electoral management bodies to create space for engagement of citizens in democratic constitution reform efforts at regional and country levels through our citizen-centered State of Democracy Assessment frameworks.

 

 

We support democratic reform processes

Our work contributes to support selected processes of democratic reform within the region, for which IDEA’s global comparative knowledge resources and tools—notably in electoral processes and constitution building—provide an invaluable base. In responding to requests for assistance in specific countries International IDEA’s approach tailors support to each country, emphasizes local ownership and sustainability and respects the role and relevance of traditional customs and frameworks in people's understanding of democracy, law and service provision.

 

We promote understanding and debate on democracy

We encourage citizens to use its State of Democracy (SoD), State of Local Democracy (SoLD) and Democratic Accountability in Service Delivery tools. These tools have been developed by International IDEA to enable people to turn the spotlight on the strengths and weaknesses of their own institutions and government. We are supporting partners in assessments of local democracy in Mindanao, Philippines and in Indonesia. We are exploring both how democratic processes can realize popular aspirations and result in tangible advancement of people’s lives, and how citizen participation, engagement and monitoring can best contribute to and ensure effective service delivery.

 

Our previous activities in the region

In Indonesia, between 1998 and 2006, we provided strategic advice to national actors in government and civil society on options relating to the electoral system and on the management of election management bodies. Our institute has facilitated the publication of voter-education material and has translated the International IDEA Handbooks Women in Parliament: Beyond Number and Democracy and Deep-rooted Conflict into Bahasa Indonesian as a resource for political dialogue. International IDEA also held workshops on inter-faith dialogue and gender and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Attendees included policy makers and representatives from the Sinhala and Tamil communities.

What's Going On

Nov
23
2016
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Dr. Warlito E. Hua of the Department of Education Regional Office in Davao
Photo: Nyla Prieto | International IDEA

News Article
Nov
04
2016

Launching of the Legislative Drafting Manual by Honourable Jigme Zhangpo, Speaker of the National Assembly (Photo credit: Adhy Aman)

News Article
Oct
28
2016
Bhutan flag in front of building.  Photo: Adhy Aman | International IDEA

Photo: Adhy Aman | International IDEA

News Article
Sep
30
2016
His Excellency Chairman U Hla Thein and Yves Leterme at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony

His Excellency Chairman U Hla Thein and Yves Leterme at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony

Photo: Tomas Spragg Nilsson | International IDEA

News Article

Social Media Activity

 

Country & Regional Support

Myanmar

We are developing knowledge resources, promoting institutional development and facilitating inclusive and informed dialogue about democratic reform options in Myanmar.

As part of the European Union-funded project Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy (STEP Democracy), International IDEA Myanmar has worked with the Union Election Commission (UEC) in support of peaceful, transparent and credible elections in Myanmar. Highlights include the development of a system and regulations to accredit election observers. In 2015, more than 12,000 observers were accredited, animated voter education videos were produced, knowledge products were produced and disseminated, and an Election Risk Management Unit was established within the UEC.

Nepal

International IDEA has been working in Nepal since 2004, initially offering its State of Democracy tool to enable citizens to assess the country’s democracy.

Following the rise of the People’s Movement for Democracy and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006, International IDEA has been supporting national actors in the process of constitution building by providing knowledge, facilitating dialogues and promoting public participation. The people of Nepal reached an historic milestone in 2008 with elections that ended a decade of civil war, popular protest and constitutional stalemate. We assisted the country as it negotiated, wrote and implemented the new constitution and supported reforms in election management. Currently, we continue our work with Nepal’s Parliament, the Election Commission of Nepal and other state and non-state actors in Nepal’s transition to an inclusive and open democracy.

Regional Partners

At the regional level, we have established a partnership with the National College of Public Administration and Governance at the University of the Philippines, which is hosting a regional centre and network for citizen assessment of democracy.  Other regional programme partners include the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation, the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies, and several institutions and centres in Thailand devoted to democracy building and political development.

In addition, our organization is developing cooperation with the Secretariats of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has worked closely with the Government of Indonesia during its chair of ASEAN, and is seeking also to work with the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). In South Asia, we support moves to develop a regional Democratic Charter.  Partnerships are also being developed with other organisations, such as the Election Commissions of India and the Republic of Korea, to help the process of democracy building.

Networks & Partners

ASEAN Secretariat
Australian National University
Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF)
Election Commission of Bhutan
Electoral Commission of Nepal
Myanmar Peace Centre
National Assembly of Bhutan
National Council of Bhutan
Nepal Constituent Assembly
Nepal Law Society
Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Union Election Commission of Myanmar
University of Gadjah Mada
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Zorig Foundation

Contact Our Offices

Australia

99 Northbourne Avenue Turner 2612

Canberra ACT Australia

Postal address: P.O. Box 6156

O'Connor ACT 2602

+61 2 6178 1500
Leena Rikkilä Tamang
Regional Director
Nepal

Sriniwas House, Ward No.4, Embassy Marg

Baluwatar, Kathmandu,

Postal address: Post Box Number: 8975

EPC:2865

Kathmandu,

Nepal

+977 1 4432846
Sheri Meyerhoffer
Head of Mission
Myanmar

68B Sayar San Road

Bahan Township

Yangon 11201

Myanmar

+95 9 263128104
Mark McDowell
Head of Mission
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