The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy is a participatory conference and annually attracts over 500 participants from over 60 countries. It is organised in step with a large coalition of local civil society and institutions. In Romania, the conference will be hosted by the Global Forum International Secretariat headed by Democracy International and an alliance of local organisations headed by Europuls as well as the City of Bucharest and the University of Bucharest.
By choosing the May 2024 dates, just ahead of the European elections and in a historically decisive election year for Romania, with local, national, and European elections on the horizon, the event promises a unique opportunity for participants from around the world to gain insights into the democratic landscape of Romania and the broader region. Furthermore, an optional pre-tour will offer participants a chance to delve into the political history of Bucharest and Romania. The Global Forum will partner up with the existing EUROSFAT Forum, which will take place at the same time and will host a common track of sessions focussed on democracy in the European Union.
“We are extremely honoured to host the 11th Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy together with our partners from Democracy International,” said Tana Foarfă, Director of Europuls – Centre of European Expertise, and co-chair of the 2024 Forum. “In a year in which Romanian citizens will do democracy in practice when going to polls four times, the Global Forum will be the perfect opportunity for them to understand better why democracy matters. Europuls has always aspired to bring an international dimension to the annual EU-level awarded EUROSFAT Forum. After 11 successful editions, we are glad to expand our EUROSFAT Forum and recreate it at a higher level. In 2024, Romania will truly be the capital of democracy, thanks to the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy.”
The programmatic focus of the Global Forum in Bucharest will revolve around the theme of "Trust." Several key topics, such as Youth participation, direct democracy and participation in the EU, the link between media and democracy and the ramifications of the war in Ukraine will be explored.
“We want to pay particular attention to the emergence and development of new tools of democracy in the Black Sea region,” Caroline Vernaillen, Co-Chair of the Forum said, “active citizenship has a long history in the region but has also faced many obstacles. Recently, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have stress-tested the region, making it a crucial time to be having the conversation on how we can make our democracies more democratic. By hosting the event in Bucharest, together with Europuls, and inviting participants from neighbouring countries such as Moldova and Ukraine, the Forum will provide a platform and networking opportunities for civil society in the whole region and offer opportunities to reinvigorate democracy and foster long-term cooperation.”
The Forum will be co-hosted by Democracy International, Europuls, the City of Bucharest and the University of Bucharest, and is co-organised with the Swiss Democracy Foundation along with a wide coalition of local and international NGOs.
The Mayor of Bucharest, Nicușor Dan said of the event “I am pleased that Bucharest will be the host of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, the most significant event devoted to direct democracy worldwide. The various backgrounds of the participants, from the academic, political, or civil society representatives, will bring a multidisciplinary perspective on democracy.“
“Modern direct democracy is an integral part of the European social model, enshrined even in the Treaty of Lisbon, that provides for the decisions of the authorities to be made as transparently as possible and at the closest level as possible to the citizens. The countries that will manage to combine representative democracy, based on elected representatives, with direct democracy, based on citizen participation, are the ones that will have a fast development, will be able to face the challenges of the future and harmonize the economic growth with care for the citizen and the environment they live in.“ Mayor Dan commented, „This model of administration, based on citizen consultation, is an important feature of my office. For example, our most recent debate organised this summer by the City Hall of Bucharest gathered over 21.000 citizens who expressed their opinions on the General Urban Plan. Their ideas will be included in the next General Urban Plan, an important strategic document that we are currently working on and will become an essential asset for our city.“
“In an ever-changing world, democracy is the only means to protect the fundamental rights and values of the people,” said Mugur Zotlea, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bucharest, “However, democracy is not a given, it needs to be constantly reinforced, and it is only politicians and governments that are responsible for ensuring a functioning democracy, it also needs full cooperation of the citizens and institutions such as universities. The University of Bucharest has been one of the cornerstones of democracy in Romania, from the very beginning, it is the alma mater of a significant part of the Romanian intellectual and administrative elite. As a founding institution of the modern Romanian state, it is natural that University of Bucharest agreed to host the 2024 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy on its premises, to stimulate active debates on democracy, participation, education, rule of law, transparency, amongst many other important topics.”
The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy has been organised since 2008 in ten different cities around the world: Aarau (CH, 2008), Seoul (KR, 2009), San Francisco (US, 2010), Montevideo (UY, 2012), Tunis (TN, 2015), San Sebastian (ES, 2016), Rome (IT, 2018), Taichung (TW, 2019), Luzern (CH, 2022), Mexico (MX, 2023).
Information and pre-registration on: www.2024globalforum.com
For media inquiries and further information, please contact:
- Caroline Vernaillen, firstname.lastname@example.org, +491789459007
- Francesca Cristea, email@example.com, +40724307612