16.09.2015 -

International Day of Democracy 2015

15th September—this year’s theme of International Day of Democracy (2015) is Space for Civil Society. The role of civil society has never been more important, as the world prepares to implement a new development agenda. Yet, for civil society, freedom to operate is diminishing — or even disappearing.

An alarming number of governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of NGOs to work, or to receive funding, or both. The UN General Assembly, in resolution A/62/7 (2007) encouraged Governments to strengthen national programs devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy. And also, they decided that 15 September of each year should be observed as the International Day of Democracy.  

A cornerstone to effective democracy is the availability of information to citizens and their use of it for improved livelihoods. UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh is currently working on an initiative to support the drafting and passing of a legislation on Access to Information in Cambodia. The important aspect of this initiative is the involvement of civil society organizations. Cambodian culture of information disclosure is seen far from being adequate. Local authorities in particular are either reluctant or unable to disclose information although their roles and responsibilities are to assist the citizens in doing so. In 2004, the Royal Government of Cambodia formally acknowledged the need for a law on Access to Information, in order to create a transparent government, reduce corruption and promote confidence in the government by the public.

UNESCO supports the work towards democratic governance by working to create a free, open and pluralistic media scene, training journalists, promoting community media, and technically assisting the government in developing institutions and processes that are responsive to the needs of ordinary citizens with a focus on the poor and marginalized.  

The following materials are available for use in your events or outreach activities on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy:

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