UNITED NATIONS DEMOCRACY FUND
Update July 2008
On 4 July 2005, then UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, announced
the creation of the UN Democracy Fund at the African Union summit. The
2005 World Summit reaffirmed democracy as “a universal value”,
indicating that “there is no single model of democracy, that it
does not belong to any country or region”, and welcomed “the
establishment of a Democracy Fund at the United Nations”. In his
statement to the press on 31 August 2006, Mr. Annan called on all Members
States to support the UN Democracy Fund and use it as an innovative
and flexible mechanism for advancing the UN democracy agenda. In April
2007, at the UN Democracy Fund’s fourth Advisory Board meeting,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that promotion of democracy is
inseparable for UN’s broader work for security, development and
human rights. In the Secretary-General’s message at the meeting
of the International Conference of New or Restored Democracies of December
2007, it was noted that a democratic system also contributes to the
promotion of equitable social and economic development.
The Secretary-General’s Advisory Board, UNDEF’s main governing
mechanism, is composed of 19 members. They include: 13 Member States
(seven largest contributors to UNDEF, Australia, France, Germany, India,
Japan, Qatar and USA; and six countries that represent the balance of
UN Members, Mali, Mozambique, Peru, Philippines, Romania and Vanuatu);
four personal representatives of the Secretary-General (Ms. Aye Aye
Thant, President of U Thant Institute; Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Executive
Secretary of Council for the Development of Social Science in Africa;
and Professor Michael Doyle of Columbia University; and Mr. Amir A.
Dossal, Executive Director of Untied Nations Office of Partnerships);
and two representatives of non-governmental organizations (Mr. Ziad
Abdel Samad, Executive Director of Arab NGO Network for Development;
and Mr. Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General of the International Commission
of Jurists). The 2008 Advisory Board was appointed by the Secretary-General
in January 2008. The next Advisory Board meeting is scheduled to take
place on 15 July 2008.
The Programme Consultative Group (PCG) serves as UN inter-agency mechanism
that provides expert advice and is comprised of DPA, DPKO, OHCHR, UNDGO,
UNDP, UNIFEM, and UNODC. The Peacebuilding Support Office also participates
in its meetings. The Fund’s office is staffed by an Executive
Head, two professional staff, one Junior Professional Officer, interns
and support personnel. The Fund launched its first call for proposals
on 15 April 2006 and its second call on 15 November 2007.
FIRST AND SECOND ROUND OF PROJECTS
UNDEF launched its second round of projects in November 2007 and received
1,873 applications. After having consultations with PCG, UN Resident
Coordinators and the Expert Groups, UNDEF produced a list that contains
86 select projects. In mid-May 2008, the total of 86 projects was approved
by the Secretary-General. Currently, UNDEF is in the process of negotiating
project documents with project implementing agencies. Grants are expected
to be released this summer.
UNDEF participated in meetings organised by numerous partners on democracy
promotion. Most recently, UNDEF participated in a meeting on world movement
for democracy in Kiev (April 2008); a round table on the role of multilateral
organizations in supporting democracy in Stockholm (April 2008) and
a NGO meeting organized by the UN Office for the High Commissioner for
Human Rights” in Geneva (April 2008).
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY (15 September
On 15 September 2008, the first International Day of Democracy will
be held following the proclamation of this date in the General Assembly
Resolution 62/7. UNDEF is preparing to host an “Information Event”
at Dag Hammarskj÷ld Library Auditorium on 15 September 2008 at 3pm.
The event will include opening statements by the Secretary-General (TBC)
and UNDEF Board members, video and slideshows of UNDEF’s activities
and presentations by UNDEF’s grantees.
Thirty-five Member States have contributed to the Fund, which has received
approximately US$96 million to date.