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UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan
Date: 1 September 2011
Venue: United Nations Headquarters, New York, Conference room 4
To register, please visit the catalogue page.
There will be a live webcast of the event. 

This seminar explores the links between democracy and development and asks whether democracy is a necessary element for economic development. This is a vast and complex issue where political rhetoric often supplants rational analysis. The object of the seminar is to eschew the rhetoric and concentrate on the analysis. In his Guidance Note on Democracy, the Secretary-General makes the point that “development is more likely to take hold if people are given a genuine say in their own governance, and a chance to share in the fruits of progress.”
Learning Objectives
At the end of the seminar, participants will be able to:
  • Describe the main characteristics of democratic institutions and public services;
  • Understand the linkages between democracy and development;
  • Explain possible consequences of democratic institutions in developing countries.
Content and Structure
The seminar will present linkages between democracy and development and will cover the following topics:
  • Identification of key issues relevant in the discussion of democracy and development;
  • Theory and practice of democratic transitions in low-income countries;
  • Differences in timing of development of democratic institutions and economic development.
The seminar brings together distinguished commentators who will no doubt spark a lively debate. The panellists are H. E. Mr. Manjeev Singh Puri, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ms. Zhang Dan, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, Mr. Morton H. Halperin, a former US diplomat and senior advisor to the Open Society Foundations who co-wrote a book entitled The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace, and Mr. Roland Rich, a former Australian diplomat and current Executive Head of the UN Democracy Fund whose most recent publication is Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy. Ms. Yvonne Lodico, Head of the Unitar New York Office and former Special Adviser in Timor-Leste, for democratic governance, will co-chair the panel discussion.
The seminar will be based on a participatory approach to allow ample time for questions and discussion with the audience. It will bring together academic expertise and real-world experience to shed a contrasting light on the issue. The seminar will focus on two massive ongoing case studies which are the differing paths to development adopted by China and India. It will also encourage experience-sharing among the participants.
Targeted Audience
This seminar is intended for members of permanent missions to the United Nations in New York who are involved or interested in democracy and development issues, and/or follow the work of the Second and Fourth Committees of the General Assembly.


Information note