REFORMERS OF AFRICA PRESENTS ITS CITIZENS WATCH PROJECT AT THE WORLD FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY IN FRANCE
The 11th World Forum for Democracy held between 6th and 8th November at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. The World Forum for Democracy hosted by the Council of Europe, is a unique platform that enables actors of democracy to engage in the debates that could strengthen global democracies actively. More importantly, the forum invites existing initiatives and practices that encourage democracy innovations at the grassroots to present their initiatives as part of the innovation for democracy award. Through this process, WFD contributes to the evolution of democracy across the globe and promotes initiatives that strengthen the foundations of democratic societies.
The theme for this year’s World Forum for Democracy was ‘Democracy=Peace?’ This theme aimed to underscore the importance of democracy to sustainable peace and if truly democracy is capable of promoting peace globally. The question of the presence of democracy in the world leading to peace comes at a time when democracy across the globe is being challenged. The theme also comes at a time when there is chaos in many parts of the world. As such there is a need for the world to act for the survival of democracy.
The serenity of the Forum’s venue set it for an interesting event. Strasbourg, a city officially in France but with its entangled history and back and forth around war and peace, was the venue of the WFD. This set up the discussions around peace with several speakers from all the world's continents.
Several issues were up for deliberations during the programme and several interventions by several organisations were presented to strengthen democracy globally. These issues range from the ongoing occupation of sovereign nations by another, the exclusion of people based on their origin, the coup d'etat in some states and the weak and imperfect democracies of many countries. All through the sessions, these issues were addressed by the participants.
Graciously, ‘the Citizens Watch’ –an initiative of the Reformers’ Initiative for Development in Africa (Reformers of Africa) was one of the initiatives presented at the forum. The organisation was represented by the Head of Programmes, Oluwasegun Ajetunmobi. During his intervention, he highlighted the impacts of the Citizens Watch so far and expressed the prospect of the initiative in Nigeria and Africa. The Citizens Watch is a promise tracker that is designed to enable citizens, civil societies, journalists, scholars and public policy analysts to track and measure the most significant campaign promises of government officials, in a bid to promote accountability and participatory governance.
Oluwasegun, The Head of Programmes, during the event.
The Citizens Watch was born out of the conviction that there is no better way to enhance good governance than fundamental citizen engagement. For government to work for the common good, citizens must be empowered with the information and skills to hold leaders accountable, support pro-people government policies and actively participate in the governance process.
The purpose of this project is to develop a culture of constructive dialogue between the government and the governed, in a bid to enhance the quality of basic public services delivery in education, health, agriculture, infrastructures etc. To learn more about the project, kindly visit www.thecitizenswatch.com
One important call for action at the programme was the need for individuals to start building peace and democracy in their immediate community. Through this, democracy could be strengthened and a global sustainable peace achieved.
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