Executive summary

This Executive summary includes the recommandations and conclusion of the Report The Interaction between democracy and development, presented by the International Panel on Democracy and Development (IPDD).

Preface

Over the years, UNESCO has participated in many debates concerning the themes ‘democracy’ and ‘development’ but, until recently, one question had yet to be probed in depth, namely, the relationship between democracy and development. In order to come to grips with this issue, in 1998 UNESCO established the International Panel on Democracy and Development (IPDD), chaired by Mr Boutros Boutros-Ghali and made up of leading international figures.

After discussing the conceptual framework and defining the key issues to be addressed, the Panel explored the nature of the link between democracy and development. It acknowledged that, while democracy and development had long been concepts largely foreign to each other, there is now widespread agreement that a close relationship exists between them. In particular, the Panel recognized that the sustainability of equitable development is closely bound up with democracy. It maintained that genuine democracy, characterized by the rule of law, respect for human rights and recognition of the intrinsic dignity of all human beings, cannot be maintained unless people enjoy a minimum standard of living, which in turn requires a minimum level of development.

The Panel’s recommendations are being considered with a view to their incorporation in UNESCO’s programmes relating to democracybuilding. I wish to emphasize the closeness that exists between the recommendations and the priorities of the Organization’s programme, whether in respect of the primacy given to basic education and the quality of its content, the promotion of cultural diversity, freedom of expression or access to new technologies and the information society.

In the perspective of the Panel’s work, a significant recent event occurred in September 2002 with the launch by the International Centre for Human Sciences at Byblos, Lebanon, of its new programme to promote comparative research on the nature of democracy and its development, with particular emphasis on the relationship between cultural perceptions and democracy. The Byblos Centre, which operates under the auspices of UNESCO, will foster interregional and international exchanges and cooperation, serving as a forum to disseminate the results of research conducted on the theme of democracy. The Centre will hereby contribute to the implementation of the international programme on democracy, in follow-up to the findings and recommendations of the International Panel on Democracy and Development.

The publication of this Summary is part of UNESCO’s efforts to ensure a very wide circulation of The Interaction between Democracy and Development among Member States, National Commissions and traditional partners of the Organization, and I invite them to implement the Report’s recommendations falling within their respective fields of competence.

I would like to thank Mr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the Panel’s Chairperson, and all its members for their conscientious endeavours and wise counsel.

Koïchiro Matsuura
Director-General of UNESCO


 

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