19 June 2017, New York, U.S.A - The United Nations Institute of Training and Research organized a workshop on the “UN Role in Democracy Building”. The workshop was comprised of distinguished panelist: Dr. Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) to the United Nations.
The event was opened by Mr. Marco Suazo, Acting Head of the UNITAR New York Office, who thanked the panelist and all participants to the event and reflected on the importance of democracy building in each country and in the UN as an international institution.
Dr. Tommasoli highlighted that developments over the last few years have testified to an increasingly complicated situation for democracy building, following the initial enthusiasm brought about by the end of the Cold War. He mentioned that analysts have identified a global “backlash” against democracy, and democracy assistance. Negotiations on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have shown the sensitivities expressed by some Member States with respect to such issues as democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the face of old and new threats to peace & security and development alike.
The seminar focused on policy guidance adopted by the UN and its impact on the ground. During the workshop, Dr. Tommasoli along with the participants in an interactive session assessed how UN action is influenced and shaped by the main priority areas of the broad field of democracy building like: electoral assistance; constitutional reforms; the strengthening of the judiciary, parliaments, political parties and civil society actors; the role of the media; the political participation and representation of women; the engagement of the youth; and the measures aimed at addressing all forms of exclusion.
Throughout the course they also examined the interlinkages between democracy building and the three pillars of UN work: development, human rights, and peace and security. The analysis focused on the work of the United Nations on democratization, the efforts by the international community at strengthening democratic institutions and processes, and the role of the main international actors in this arena.
The course concluded with some closing remarks from Mr. Suazo which included some wrap up comments, and engaged with a questions and answer forum between the panelist and the participants.
Photo1: Dr. Massimo Tommasoli (centre left) and Mr. Marco Suazo (centre right)
Photo 2: Participants of teh workshop
Photo 3: Dr. Massimo Tommasoli (left) and Mr. Marco Suazo (right)