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authoritarian power

democratic participation

Main Topic: Coordinator Comments

"The fostering of democratic participation and governance is essential for the development of a culture of peace and non-violence. This is the only way to replace the authoritarian structures of power which were created by and which have, in the past, sustained the culture of war and violence." With these words, UNESCO introduced the fourth programme area of the culture of peace in document A/53/370 sent to the United Nations General Assembly in 1998.

Among the specific recommendations in this regard adopted by the General Assembly in the final resolution on the culture of peace (resolution A/53/243) were support for:

(a) Reinforcement of the full range of actions to promote democratic principles and practices;

(b) Special emphasis on democratic principles and practices at all levels of formal, informal and non-formal education;

(c) Establishment and strengthening of national institutions and processes that promote and sustain democracy through, inter alia, training and capacity-building of public officials;

(d) Strengthening of democratic participation through, inter alia, the provision of electoral assistance upon the request of States concerned and based on relevant United Nations guidelines;

(e) Combating of terrorism, organized crime, corruption as well as production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs and money laundering, as they undermine democracies and impede the fuller development of a culture of peace.

It was quite deliberate that the UN programme area is called "democratic participation" and not just "democracy," because, to be effective, it must not be limited to elections, but include direct participation on a regular basis by all of the citizenry. This has been developed especially in Latin America as referred to in the recent speech of Bolivian President Evo Morales to welcome the foundation of the new union of Latin American Countries. Among the most important innovations is the process of participative budgeting ("orçamento participativo" or "presupuesto participativo") by which citizens vote directly on budget allocations in their part of the city. It began in 1989 in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, after the victory of the Workers' Party, in order to strengthen the civil society and social movements. Since then, other cities in Latin America and in Europe, have adopted participative budgeting as form of citizen participation and municipal management.

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game administrator Jun. 10 2008,14:08
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