August 19, 2016

Public Participation For Democracy

“I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong.”, “To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect, and their oneness.”, “In true democracy every man and women is taught to think for himself or herself.”, “The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular.”(Mohandas Gandhi)

Participatory political decision making and politicians’ transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness are of paramount importance. Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and its Members will this year mark International Day of Democracy on 15 September with a call for “Public Participation for Democracy”. The theme has been chosen to reflect the critical importance of public engagement in democracy to help ensure better political decision-making and politicians’ accountability to the people. The focus will not only be on the rights and responsibilities of individual citizens to engage in democracy, but also why it is important for civil society to actively participate.
Understanding the values and requisites of inclusiveness, representativeness, responsiveness and consensus oriented is crucial in the development of good/green/clean governance. The theme of this year “International Day of Democracy” will encompass both formal and informal ways to engage in democracy, such as voting and petitioning, and the dynamic use of social media for political conversations. IPU is urging parliaments to seize the opportunity to engage with citizens and civil society organizations/groups to explore key questions, including how to widen existing opportunities for interaction and how to draw in groups currently less engaged — such as women, young people and minorities.
Building capacity and capability of all the human resources in the planet can make a difference, to be the world better, happier and safer. Parliament is unique. It is made up of men and women who have been elected to represent the people. They adopt laws and hold the government to account. Parliament is therefore the central institution of democracy and constitutes an expression of the very sovereignty of each nation. Parliament is a political institution. It is a place for political, and often confrontational, debate. But it is also a place where, at the end of the day, national policies are forged and conflicts in society are resolved through dialogue and compromise.
Lifelong learning for the development, enhancement, victory, endurance, lasting, outstanding, perpetuation, modernism, expedience, nobility and tranquillity is natural gift for all citizens of our Planet. Parliament is a complex institution. It functions at different levels and many actors influence what it does. Members of parliament, the Speakers and leadership, political parties and groups, Secretaries General, clerks and administration all play a part in shaping its work. No two parliaments are the same. They differ in form, role and functioning. They are shaped by the history and culture of each individual country. Yet they all share the same ambition: to give people a voice in the management of public affairs.
IPU was established in 1889, with its official emblem/logo with “Better parliaments, Stronger democracies.” Parliament is the business of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The IPU brings together almost all parliaments in the world and devotes time, energy and resources to study the parliamentary institution. It develops principles and criteria for democratic parliaments and tools to assess their performance. It builds capacity in parliaments and helps them to strengthen and modernize the institution. Parliament is a time-honoured institution. Many parliaments can trace their roots back to several centuries past. All parliaments need to keep in tune with the times. (Global Parliamentary Report, The changing nature of parliamentary representation, April 2012. Anders B. Johnsson Secretary General Inter-Parliamentary Union)
Citizens must have access to information about parliamentary proceedings, legislation, and policy, and be able to engage in continual dialogue with parliamentarians. Parliaments are the indispensable institutions of representative democracies around the world. Whatever their country-specific rules, their role remains the same: to represent the people and ensure that public policy is informed by the citizens on whose lives they impact. Effective parliaments shape policies and laws which respond to the needs of citizens, and support sustainable and equitable development. For parliaments to be truly representative, elections must be free and fair.
Clearly, the political leadership required to fulfil this vision of a brave new world will have to be as much in the hands of the world’s parliamentary leaders as in those of heads of government. Speakers of Parliament will de facto be in the vanguard of parliamentary action. After their quinquennial World Conference on key global issues ends in New York, their individual leadership in mobilizing parliaments will help determine how each country fares in the long run.
It is known that progress on development is built on solid foundations of peace and democracy (freedom, harmony, security). Both are under assault today. Our world continues to be threatened by conflict, terrorism, abuses of human and political rights and inequality. A parliament that is representative of all voices in society and which unabashedly acts to protect them, is a fundamental pillar of the rules of laws and good governance. These are also prerequisites for sustainable development.
Politicians the world over must fulfil their responsibilities and deliver on the demands of their people. It is what the people expect of them. Countries in conflict, post-conflict, in transition, and with weak or fledgling democracies will need help to prepare their parliaments to fulfil their role.
Empowerment (pro-women), equity (pro-nature), employment (pro-job), environment (pro-nature) are four essential requisites to be fulfilled for the Human Development in this planet. Female Speakers from around the world have discussed how parliaments can empower and support women and promote gender equality.
Recognized the roles of youth in this planet, parliaments in the world need to create enabling environment, encourage and open more for young generations to participate. The young MPs highlighted the need to focus development cooperation on people, and in particular on young people’s specific interests, to create positive long-term outcomes. They stressed that it was critical to consult young people on development projects and called attention to the need for development cooperation to empower young people through investment in training, job creation, inclusive processes and responsive programmes.
Attainment of peace and democracy depends on the achievement of global goal on education for all programmes. Education was identified as one of the key areas in need of greater investment, including tertiary education and training in skills relevant to the job market. Other priority areas included increasing youth opportunities in the agricultural sector, and investing more in Information and Computer Technology (ICT) to boost knowledge, innovation and web entrepreneurship opportunities.  Considering the importance of the goal of “Health for All”, all Parliaments must be part of the efforts to improve women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health.
Your active, brave, concerted, disciplined, energetic involvement and participation for DEMOCRACY is greatly important. “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.” (Aristotle). “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people” (Abraham Lincoln) “I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education”, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” (Thomas Jefferson). “Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element.” (Rosa Luxemburg) May the Fragrant and Sweet Flowers and Fruits of Peace and Democracy be with you!!!


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