(15 November 2022) Standing up for democracy in society and in the workplace is one of the core values of EPSU. Freedom of assembly, speech, and association are our pillars in the fight for better pay and working conditions in the public services. EPSU attended the 10th World Forum for Democracy organized by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on the 7-8 November 2022.
The Forum focused on the challenges to democracy. One of the sessions ‘S.O.S Democracy’ focused on the threats to democracy in the EU, Mongolia, Romania, and Belarus such as online manipulation, corruption, brain drain and autocratic regimes. Another session looked at possible solutions by asking the question ‘Can We Swing Back the Pendulum’. The speakers suggested that countries need to appoint responsible leaders, regulate big tech, counter online disinformation, and increase European unity. The Forum further looked at the future of the democracy in a more and more digitalized world during the session ‘Democracy Defended – From Decline to Renaissance’. The presenters talked about changes that Japan, Chile, Northern Ireland, and Italy still need to undergo such as redistributing wealth to younger generations, revamping old democratic institutions, encouraging more women’s political participation, and fighting against corruption.
Intensive debates took place in different sessions, one focused on ‘Youth Participation’. Young activists from North Macedonia, Lebanon, Ukraine, and Spain talked about their projects. It was very inspiring to hear about the challenges they had to overcome such as stigma around discussing gender issues, brain drain, lack of funding and disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. A forum session on ‘Corruption and Accountability – Keeping Faith in Democracy’ gave an insight into the personal experiences of politicians and activists in their fight against corruption. The speakers talked about their experience fighting against the Palermo mafia, advocating for more accountability in the US government and campaigning for more government transparency across Europe. An important session that EPSU attended was on ‘Protection of Activists and Human Rights’ Defenders’ during which members of civil society talked about their projects on training activists in conflict resolution tools and supporting them in difficult situations. The presenters talked about their work campaigning against the abuse of INTERPOL’s red notices, practicing social mediation and providing activists with funding and access to mental health support.
The program of the World Forum for Democracy 2022 can be found here.
EPSU has recently published a report on the consequences of outsourcing in government administrations.