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Global Forum to fight retreat of democracy

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Global Forum to fight retreat of democracy


From 16 to 19 November 2016, more than 200 people from all continents of the world will come together in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, to attend the sixth Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy.

This year’s edition of the world biggest conference on participatory democracy addresses the question whether direct democracy is in retreat or on the rise and how to connect social movements around the globe to encounter the backlash against democracy and human rights.

“These are challenging times for everything we believe in and work for: human rights, modern democracy and the ability to make decisions after thoughtful and respectful conversations. Just the week after the probably most upsetting election in modern history, and after a campaign full of lies, accusations and stupidities, we are gathering in the beautiful capital of the Basque Country for four days of sharing, caring and developing of modern direct democracy”, states Bruno Kaufmann, Co-President of the Global Forum, who is spearheading the preparations. 

The Global Forum 2016 takes place in this year’s European Capital of Culture, Donostia-San Sebastián. It is organised by a broad alliance of organisations including the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe, Democracy International, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the Council of Europe. The Global Forum is the sixth such world conference since 2008, when the first forum took place in Aarau/ Switzerland. It has since then travelled the world, with editions in Seoul/ Korea (2009), San Francisco/USA (2010), Montevideo/ Uruguay (2012) and Tunis/ Tunisia (2015).

The gathering in San Sebastián will bring together scholars, journalists, activists, election administrators and politicians from all parts of the world. The overall goal is to examine best examples, to seek the best thinking and to develop the best practices for citizens participation.

Democracies must learn from one another

“With democracy under so much pressure, and facing real questions of legitimacy in my country and many others, conversations like the ones we are going to have at the Forum have never been more important. The world's democracies must learn from one another", declares Joe Mathews from US California who also precedes the Forum as Co-President.

The Global Forum will start on Wednesday, 16 November 2016, with an evening reception hosted by the City Government. The format of the following three days will be open panels and numerous workshop sessions. Thursday, 17 November, runs under the theme “Modern direct democracy and local government”. On Friday, the focus will lie on “citizens movements and media”. The last day transfers the experiences and lessons learnt in San Sebastián to the global level.

The panel discussions will be broadcasted live by swissinfo.ch, the Swiss Broadcasting Company that together with Zócalo Public Square, people2power.info and Democracy International is going to report on the Global Forum 2016.


to the live streaming here: people2power.info/live

to the Global Forum Agenda here: 2016globaforum.com/agenda

Further information:

- www.2016globalforum.com

- www.swissinfo.ch/directdemocracy

- www.people2power.info


- www.zocalopublicsquare.org

Twitter hashtags: #globfor16 and #deardemocracy

Background Study on Direct Democracy :

World Fact-Check: Why were referendums – initiated by authorities or by citizens - conducted in electoral democracies worldwide? On the occasion of the Global Forum 2016 the Navigator to Direct Democracy (http://www.direct-democracy-navigator.org) presents the findings of empirical research here.

Press Contact in San Sebastián:

Cora Pfafferott, pfafferott[at]democracy-international.org ,
GSM: +49 176 954 373 79



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