2016 Programme

Annual Democracy Forum 2016

August 25 - August 26 2016
Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Learning from Democratic Transitions in Asia and the Pacific: An Inter-Generational Dialogue

Annual Democracy Forum 2016 Programme
Learning from Democratic Transitions in Asia and the Pacific: An Inter-Generational Dialogue

Background As the Chair of the Council of Member States of International IDEA in 2016, Mongolia is organizing the Annual Democracy Forum in collaboration with International IDEA. The regional Forum will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 25–26 August 2016 with the theme 'Learning from Democratic Transitions'. The Forum aims to bring together actors of democratic transitions in Asia and the Pacific of older and younger generations and create space for inter-generational dialogue on transitions and their aftermath.

Democratic transitions in Asia The Asia-Pacific region includes number of countries; Indonesia, Philippines and Mongolia, where democratic transition took place about a generation ago. Mongolia’s own revolution for democracy in 1990 was sparked by a youth movement, by the generation which has now been in power for some time. Many of these countries were able to consolidate their democracies including through constitutional reforms, regular elections and relative economic gains. However, the 21st century has brought about new sort of demands for more direct accountability, participation and more inclusive economies by ordinary citizens and younger generations to which governments need to respond.

More recent transitions include Bhutan, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and the ongoing one in Myanmar. In parts of the region, democracy has failed to take root after transitions; Thailand and Fiji amongst some others have been oscillating between military takeovers and elected governments for several decades. The region also still includes a wide variety of political systems without genuine elections.

With large ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity, many Asian countries are struggling with the challenges of inclusion for all communities in the democratic processes and institutions. Ongoing debates on devolution of power in Myanmar and Nepal, and peace-building efforts in Philippines and Thailand are just a few examples. Consolidating multiparty systems remains a challenge in many places. The political participation and representation of women is far below the global average, particularly in the Pacific sub-region. Global and regional economic slowdown is also testing the resilience of new democracies.
Another feature of Asian transitions is the wide array of types of previous systems which vary from monarchies, military regimes to communist one-party systems; with very diverse colonial histories. The preceding systems have had their impact to the nature and pace of transitions in the region and continue to impact today’s politics.

Global commitment/SDG agenda The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN Member States in September 2015 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included commitments relevant to countries going through democratic transition processes, notably in SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 16 on effective, accountable and inclusive institutions. The SDGs form a key commitment to the future generations and a central challenge for citizens across the region will be to monitor and hold governments accountable for making progress on the implementation of the SDGs. At the level of sub-regional cooperation, countries in the Asia and the Pacific region have developed strong shared norms and principles on democracy, as illustrated by the ASEAN Charter and the SAARC Charter of Democracy, as well as peer exchanges on best practices and experiences of democratic transitions.

Looking back, looking ahead Learning from these various democratic transitions, the Annual Democracy Forum is taking a look back in order to move forward; what has enabled consolidation of democratic order in some countries and why has democracy failed to take root in others? How do younger generations assess the gains and flaws of democratization processes? Looking ahead: How are Asian democracies responding to increasing demands for more transparency and participation? What will be the role of technology, social media or citizen movements in deepening democracies or in initiating new transitions? How have constitutions accommodated demands for inclusion and autonomy in the region? What about role of international community – how to best mobilize external support so that it is useful and relevant to the transitional processes?

Output Based on the presentations and discussions in this Annual Democracy Forum, a booklet will be created showcasing the various thematic and country-specific experiences and lessons learned on democratic transitions. This booklet will be supplementary to the book, “Democratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders”.


25 August 2016

Schedule Session  
8:30 - 9:00 Registration and Welcome Coffee  
Welcome Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Tsend Munkh-Orgil, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia H.E. Yves Leterme, Secretary-General, International IDEA and former Prime Minister of Belgium

Video message from Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Keynote Speaker:
Mr. Battur A., National Security and Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break & Group Photo  
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch  
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break  

26 August 2016

Schedule Session  
8:30 - 9:00 Registration and Welcome Coffee  
10:30 - 10:45 Coffee Break  
12:15 - 12:30 Break  
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch  
14:30 Sightseeing Tour  

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