How to engage young people in one of the world's youngest democracies? Bhutan, a nation of 650,000 people, elected a new government in 2008 to replace a century-old monarchy. It is now striving to develop a democratic culture underpinned by a public educated in democratic concepts.
Asia and Pacific
UNDEF Deputy Head Annika Savill visited a project in Kamchatka Territory, Russian Federation, in May 2012 to support democratic participation of indigenous peoples. The visit included a round table with representatives of local government and the private sector to promote best practices of cooperation.
An UNDEF-funded project to strengthen the participation of marginalized women in the Russian Federation held a roundtable in May 2012 in the main project location of Togliatti, Samara region. The roundtable focused on ways to promote cooperation between civil society and local government.
Deputy Executive Head Annika Savill met with Rodion Sulyandziga, First Vice-President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North at UN headquarters on 22 March, in connection with an UNDEF-funded project to support democratic participation of northern indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation.
In Bangladesh, UNDEF funds an initiative to advance pro-poor and democratic governance in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The project works in over 200 villages to step up interaction between organizations of poor tribal peoples and local government administration.
An UNDEF-funded online directory of parliamentary committees and NGOs was launched to bridge the divide between Pakistan’s Parliament and civil society. It will serve as a resource tool for Parliament to facilitate the use of professional research sources in addressing issues relevant to the Committees.
In Central Asia, NGOs and independent media often have nowhere to turn for support on new media technology, with little or no in-house knowledge and commercial alternatives that are far too expensive. That’s why UNDEF funds a new media clinic in the region.
A task force formed to support China's rural women’s participation in local politics convened in Shaanxi province in November 2011, as part of an UNDEF-funded project to empower women in areas where patriarchal values still dominate village governance.
An UNDEF-funded project in Rajasthan, India, completed its work in 2011 to strengthen the leadership of women elected to Gram Panchayats, or village councils. The project provided training to more than 2,000 elected women and raised the profile of women's political leadership.
In the 25 years since Vietnam introduced the doi moi programme of reforms, citizens have come to participate far more actively in politics at both commune and village levels. But government is still not fully accountable, especially on issues impacting the environment.