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Posts from the ‘Events’ Category

Democracy celebrated at 7th People’s Meeting

For the 7th consecutive year, the island of Bornholm welcomed more than 25.000 daily visitors to Denmark’s biggest political festival. As always, DIPD participated in celebrating Danish democracy.

Each year, political parties, journalists, NGO’s and hundreds of other organisations gather in the small coastal town Allinge on the island of Bornholm to engage in four days of intense dialogue, debate and relation-building. More than 3.200 events were on offer during the 4-day festival, and DIPD once again did its part to celebrate Danish democracy.

Informal dialogue and intense debates

Even though the astonishing amount of events provided plenty of opportunities to discuss everything from the decreasing trust in politicians to the latest developments in medical rehabilitation (after a morning yoga session, but before singing worker’s songs with the trade unions), most would argue that what the People’s Meeting does best is to facilitate the informal dialogue between politicians and citizens. With the festival being an open and free event, everyone is welcome and the festival format allows you plenty of opportunities to have a chat with Ministers, MP’s and Mayors alike.

For DIPD, it was another aprreciated opportunity to catch up with the Danish political parties and discuss not only their international partnerships, but also the current developments on our own political scene.

But there was also time for DIPD director, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, to participate in a couple of larger events. The first of which took the form of a creative competition, where three different teams spend half a day working towards the best campaign idea ahead of the Danish Municipal Elections in November 2017 – an event which will be attended by a multitude of DIPD partners. Rasmus Helveg Petersen was part of the jury, which selected a campaign that looks to increase the voter turnout among young people come November.

Danish youth shares experiences

Generally, the role of youth in politics played a big role at this year’s People’s Meeting. The Danish youth parties participated in many debates on both national and international matters, on of which was organised by DIPD and long-time partner, The Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute (DEDI). Stage and mic was given to four members of four different Danish youth politicians, who shared their experiences from the Danish-Egyptian Political Party Youth Network, where young Danish and Egyptian politicians gather for political dialogue and capacity development.

All in all, the People’s Meeting once again showcased that the openess and peacefulness of Danish Democracy is still a thing to be cherished.

More information

Contact Project Coordinator at DIPD, Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal: maps@dipd.dk

DIPD’ polling agents training activities for by-election

In advance of Myanmar’s 1 April by-elections, the first test of elections under the NLD government, parties are watching to make sure that the elections are conducted in a credible and transparent way. To this end, parties are their organizing teams of polling agents to observe the by-elections.

In support of parties’ efforts to observe the by-elections, DIPD’s Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme replicated its 2015 political party polling agent training sessions, targeting party polling agents in Shan State, Chin State, Yangon Region and Bago Region. During February and March, DIPD used interactive and innovative training methods to give party polling agents practical and hands on experience in the key elements of election observation. A total of 258 participants learned about the roles and responsibilities of party polling agents, the detailed steps of polling day processes and how to monitor them, and identified possible irregularities in the elections. “This training is good opportunity for me; in this training I learnt election processes, voting procedures, and rules and regulations through interactive exercises…[there are not a lot of such opportunities] in rural areas like Chin State”, according to Van Thawng from Nga Phyne Thae Village, Htantlang, Chin State, representing the NLD.

MMDP Polling Agent Training ahead of Myanmar by-elections in March 2017.

On the second day of each training session, DIPD also invited chairpersons and other representatives of the Electoral Commission, which allowed participants a useful opportunity to clarify important information regarding election and their roles as polling agents, and raise any questions or concerns for response by the electoral officials. “It’s very rare chance to meet and hold interactive discussion with the UEC sub-commissioner. I was able to clarify my confusion of some information which was released by the UEC,” reflected U Myo Naing Oo from the Akha National Development Party, Kengtung, Shan State.

U Than Lwin Mying, the secretary of Shan regional UEC, provides valuable inputs.

According to U Ye Myint, the Chairperson of the Yangon Division Election Commision, “We welcome DIPD doing polling agents trainings and supporting with effective courses and information for political parties before by-election. This kind of political party capacity support is necessary for our country during its democracy transition.” DIPD will continue to support parties’ participation in the electoral process in Myanmar, including as party polling agents, in the run-up to the 2020 general elections.

All smiles at the MMDP Polling Agent Training.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s engagement in Myanmar.

Contact DIPD’s Country Coordinator in Myanmar, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD’s Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Thimphu Declaration: advancements made at 2nd National Women’s Conference

At the end of the 2nd National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics held in Thimphu, Bhutan, on 8-10 March, the Thimphu Decleration was unfurled. The declaration presents three goals for stronger female participation in politics, leadership and the public sector.

During a three-day conference organised by DIPD-partner Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) and the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), current challanges and opportunities for incresing women’s participation in politics and governance in Bhutan were discussed, with several international experts providing valuable contributions. Among these were former Danish MP Gitte Seeberg and prof. Drude Dahlerup.

At the end of the conference, the Thimphu Declaration was unfurled, bringing forth three important goals for the enhancement of women’s participation in politics and governance:

Goal no. 1 (2018-2019): Ensure 30% of women candidature in the upcoming elections from the political parties.

Goal no. 2 (2020-2021): Increase the number of elected women local leaders by 30% through fast-track measures.

Goal no. 3 (2017-2025): Increase the number of women executives/leaders in the civil service/public service by 25 per cent by 2025.

To achieve these goals, the following meassures will be taken:

  1. Review Electoral Laws, Bhutan Civil Service Regulations (BCSR), Local Governement  (LG), National Assembly (NA) Act, National Council (NC) Act and relevant policies, Laws & regulations;
  2. Adopt a Gender Equality policy;
  3. Propose for a Local Government Election Campaign Fund;
  4. Political parties to revisit and commit to mainstream gender in their charters and manifestos;
  5. Carryout targeted Gender Responsive advocacy at all levels and especially by the media and CSOs;
  6. Create a system whereby women leaders in different offices mentor other aspiring women candidates;
  7. Enable gender responsive election environment to increase voter turnout.
  8. Create and provide crèche and other children facilities in public offices and also during election period.

The Thimphu Declaration received full backing from Bhutan’s government, as a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between BNEW and NCWC, with the National Assembly Speaker and Lyonpo Dorji Choden, Chairwoman of NCWC, pledging to translate the declaration in to action.

The 2nd Annual Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics was arranged with the support of DIPD as leading partner to BNEW and with further support from Int. IDEA and UNWomen.

More information

Read more about The Bhutan Network for Empowering Women and DIPD’s work in Bhutan.

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Managing Myanmar’s natural resources

Beginning 31 Januar, DIPD and the Natural Resource Governance Institute organised a two-day dialogue on federalism and natural resource management. Here 21 political parties from Mandalay region and Shan State convened to share views and policy options.

With the resumption of dialogue on the peace process, political parties are responsible for contributing to the development of policy agreements in a range of areas. One of the most crucial and challenging of these policy areas is natural resource management. How the government manages the revenue from these natural resources, including how it is shared between national and sub-national governments, will be instrumental in determining to what extent this revenue contributes to Myanmar’s development.

To support political parties, as one of the key stakeholders in the peace process, to make a useful contribution to the development of policy frameworks on natural resource management, DIPD and the Natural Resource Governance Institute co-sponsored a two-day dialogue on federalism and natural resource management with 39 leaders of 21 political parties from Mandalay Region and Shan State from 31 January-1 February.  This dialogue helped parties better understand the current situation of natural resource management in Myanmar, global best practices in natural resource management, and policy options that would be relevant for Myanmar’s context.

U Maung Maung Sein, NLD raises a question

During dialogue between the political parties represented, party leaders were able to identify some important areas for reform, such as the need for greater transparency in natural resource management and revenue sharing, the value of sharing natural resource revenues with high-poverty or underserved communities, and how to consider offsetting the negative impact of mining in some communities. Parties also recognized that decentralization of natural resource management was not a panacea in terms of ensuring that the public benefits from natural resources, as demonstrated by the case of Indonesia. The parties agreed to consider more carefully how to divide responsibilities and benefits between national and sub-national governments so that the public benefits optimally from natural resources extracted.

“It should be defined clearly in the constitution how to allocate accountabilities and benefits between central and sub-national governments in natural resource”, reflected by Khun Satt Aung from Pao National Party.

DIPD and NRGI will continue to support parties at the national and sub-national level with technical advice and platforms for dialogue as they provide inputs to the union peace process on natural resource management issues. This support will be crucial in helping parties build consensus on policy positions that are evidence-based and inclusive in providing benefits to all of Myanmar’s citizens.

Group Exercise on the allocation of responsibilities and benefits between central and sub- national governments.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s work in Myanmar, where we are part of the EU supported STEP Democracy Programme.

Contact DIPD Myanmar Country Coordinator, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Including women in Myanmar’s peace process

On 2-3 February, DIPD and UNWomen held a two-day forum on women in Myanmar’s peace process. The forum saw representatives from 12 parties convene to increase awareness on issues facing women in conflict situations and to enhance women’s inclusion in the ongoing peace process.

Myanmar’s efforts toward peace, despite some setbacks, remain a beacon of hope for achieving a lasting peace in Myanmar after decades of military rule and conflicts in Myanmar’s ethnic minority regions. The Union Peace Conference, otherwise known as the Panglong Conference, have provided opportunities to a wide range of political parties to hold discussions with the military, ethnic armed groups, and the government on the foundations for achieving a lasting peace. While conflict has yet to abate in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine, these talks have provided an important opportunity to identify possible solutions and compromises that could provide the basis for a more just and stable union.

Despite the relative inclusiveness of the Panglong Conference, women have remained on the margins of the conference, especially as party representatives. Gender activists were successful at encouraging greater inclusion of women among some of the stakeholders but have yet to make significant progress at including women among the party representatives at the conference. For these reasons, DIPD collaborated with UNWomen on 2-3 February in Yangon to hold a two-day forum on women in the peace process with 22 representatives from 12 political parties. The objectives of the forum were to increasing understanding of the issues of women in conflict situations and peace negotiations, and to support parties to develop concrete actions to enhance the inclusion of women and their priorities in the peace process.

“Women participation in peace process still very low and only 13% are women despite the target 30% of women participation in peace process. Not only quantity but also quality is important for meaningful participation of women,” said Nant Khin Aye Oo, Co-secretary of the Kayin Peoples Party.

At the forum, political party representatives, including both senior male and female party leaders, discussed the lack of participation of women in the peace process to date and some strategies to generate greater engagement of women in the process. They also discussed how women experience conflict and insecurity differently and the unique contributions that women can make to the peace process. At the end of the discussion, participants resolved to take a number of steps to enhance the participation of women in the peace process and enhance the consideration of gender issues in the peace process, including conducting  joint workshops to further discuss the issues related to gender perspectives in the peace process, developing an information sharing and exchange mechanism/platform, leading joint efforts needed for increasing the number of women participation and their priorities in the peace process, and lobbying party leaders at the decision making level to develop gender-inclusive policies within the parties and define the roles of women in political parties more concretely.“It is critical that we, starting from men sharing responsibilities in the household, build capacity within the parties, to create more spaces for women participation in peace process,” reflected Tar Hla Phay, a Central Executive Committee Member from the Ta-Arng (Palaung) National Party.

DIPD will continue, as part of our Women In Politics (WIP) programme, to cooperate with political parties, UNWomen and other stakeholders to highlight the issue of gender inclusiveness in the peace talks, and to support parties to promote the participation of women in the process and the meaningful consideration of gender issues during the talks.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s work in Myanmar, where we are part of the EU supported STEP Democracy Programme.

Contact DIPD Myanmar Country Coordinator, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk