International Democracy Day 2018 recognises democracy is ‘under strain’ and calls for parliamentary solutions for a changing world 

"Democracy is showing greater strain than at any time in decades. That is why this International Day should make us look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers for the systemic challenges it faces." — United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed the Universal Declaration on Democracy by instituting the International Day of Democracy on 15 September each year. 

The United Nations theme for International Day of Democracy 2018 is: Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World. This year’s International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers to the systemic challenges it faces. This includes tackling economic and political inequalities, making democracies more inclusive by bringing the young and marginalized into the political system, and making democracies more innovative and responsive to emerging challenges such as migration and climate change.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) network is marking this special day and many of its 180 Branches in Parliaments and Legislatures across the Commonwealth are celebrating International Day of Democracy with different events and activities.The CPA connects and supports Commonwealth Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance to promote democracy and offers its membership a range of opportunities to enhance their parliamentary knowledge and networking. It provides both established and newly elected Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff with continuing professional development and encourages them to share experiences and knowledge with other Parliaments in the wider pursuit of democracy in the Commonwealth. As in previous years, the CPA is also supporting the IPU’s #StrongerDemocracies campaign and online petition.

With this year’s 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Day of Democracy is also an opportunity to highlight the values of freedom and respect for human rights as essential elements of democracy. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” (article 21.3), has inspired constitution-making around the world and contributed to global acceptance of democratic values and principles. Democracy, in turn, provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will be marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a special issue of The Parliamentarian, the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments, due to be published in December 2018.

For more information on International Day of Democracy please click here.


Updated 14th September 2018.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Headquarters Secretariat,  
Richmond House,
Houses of Parliament,
London SW1A 0AA,
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)20 7799 1460
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