The Parliamentary Conference on Democracy in Africa will be hosted by the Parliament of Botswana from 14 to 16 September 2009. The venue for the conference shall be the Botswana Conference and Exhibition Centre in Gaborone.
The Conference is part of the activities being organised by the IPU in the context of the second International Day of Democracy, to be marked on 15 September 2009. The Conference will promote awareness of the International Day of Democracy, the fundamental principles of democracy and the major issues facing the democracy community today. It will identify the particular role and responsibilities of parliaments in relation to these issues. More specifically, it will promote parliaments’ engagement with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, encourage action by them to ensure ratification by their Governments and internalise the provisions thereof in domestic legislation and practice. It will promote greater political tolerance generally and within political parties as well as between governing and opposition parties. Generally, the Conference will support Africa’s efforts to entrench democracy, including through the African Union.
- Provisions of the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance
- Political tolerance and accommodation of diverse views of society
- Rights, roles and responsibilities of political parties in democracy
- How to resolve the competing claims of party loyalty and parliamentarians’ individual conscience. The IPU is conducting a survey/study on this matter. Its findings will be presented at the Conference.
The Conference should lead to a number of beneficial outcomes including the following:
Participants will include parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from all parliaments in Africa. Observers are also being invited from African regional parliamentary organisations, international political party federations and other organisations active in the promotion of democracy in Africa.
- Better awareness among Parliaments of the fundamental precepts of democracy, including as provided for in the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance; their commitment/recommitment to this Charter;
- In the longer term, ratification and entry into force of the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance.
- Contribution to the entrenchment of a culture of political pluralism and tolerance as core principles
- Better understanding of the functioning of political parties and their role in a democracy
- Better understanding of the mechanisms for ensuring greater inclusiveness in decision-making, the rights, roles and responsibilities of the opposition, etc
- Greater respect for the parliamentary mandate of parliamentarians in the overall context of the functioning of parliament
- Substantive basis for the work of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in defending MPs’ right to freedom of expression, among others.