UNDEF co-hosts International Day of Democracy event at International Peace Institute
UNDEF co-convened an event at the International Peace Institute in New York on 16 September to mark the International Day of Democracy. The invitation-only event, “Democratization at the Sharp End” brought together leading UN officials from the UN’s work in the field, including Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti; Margaret Vogt, outgoing Special Representative of Secretary-General in the Central African Republic; and Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus. They were joined by Michael Doyle, Chair of the Advisory Board of UN Democracy Fund, and Harriette Williams Bright, Advocacy Officer of the NGO and UNDEF grantee Femmes Africa Solidarité. The discussion, organized by IPI and the UN Working Group on Democracy, focused on challenges and opportunities of integrating support for democratization processes in the day-to-day work of peacekeepers, special political missions, UN resident coordinators and their colleagues – all of whom must find ways to deliver on the UN’s normative foundations of democratization by contributing to it in practice in the field. The panelists agreed on the need to understand that democracy cannot be imposed from outside; that democracy means far more than holding elections; and that issues of legitimacy, security and accountability are fundamental to the scope for democratization.