In their foreword to the strategy, the Chairman and the Director state the following:
The decision by the Danish parliament ‘Folketinget’ on 26 May 2010 to establish the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy has provided Denmark with an additional instrument in the tool box which can be used to support locally driven efforts to develop, strengthen and consolidate democracy in a number of developing countries. This is an important and necessary task, which the new Institute will do its best to deliver on.Click to view strategy (English version)
But we also recognize that this is a challenging task. It has been emphasized in both the international and the Danish debate that there are few convincing examples of successful support for political parties and multiparty systems, and many activities are implemented without the necessary analysis, without the necessary realism, and without local anchoring and ownership.
In developing this strategy, the Board has therefore tried to keep a sharp focus on the experiences and lessons learnt, and we have made an effort in defining our principles while remembering the experiences of the past. This is not in itself a guarantee for success, but we believe that it provides the Institute with a solid and realistic point of departure for our work.
Among the many lessons learnt we would like to emphasize that it is neither possible to export nor to import a particular form of democracy, but through dialogue and solid partnerships it is possible to support and strengthen democratic reforms and processes initiated by citizens themselves. The Institute will therefore not provide a tool box with ready made solutions for democratisation and party development. But we believe that Danish experiences can be useful if communicated with humility and in an open atmosphere.
The strategy states that the vision of the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy is to contribute to the development of effective political parties and well-functioning multiparty systems as key elements in a democratic culture, thus ensuring citizens in developing countries the freedom and human development to which they have a right.
The following is the full text from the introductory chapter on the Vision of DIPD:
Surveys indicate that a sizeable majority of citizens throughout the developing countries of the world, young as well as old, women as well as men, poor as well as rich, prefer living in a society where there is free access to information, the right to organise in political parties, the right to participate in free elections and respect for fundamental human rights.Click to view strategy (Danish version)
No single democratic institution or any one specific democratic process is decisive in itself. The establishment of a well-functioning parliament with clear rules of play is one important element. The election system and holding of free elections under the leadership of an independent commission are similarly important, as is the existence of the rule of law. Additionally important are independent media that can ensure citizens the necessary information and organisations in civil society that can set agendas.
But political parties are also important democratic institutions. Through dialogue with their members and the voters, they articulate various visions of how society should be shaped and how resources should be utilised, and through elections they periodically contribute to channelling the wishes and priorities of the citizens and voters forward to decisions in parliament and government. Effective democratic parties and well-functioning multiparty systems also contribute to peaceful solutions to the conflicts and contradictions that characterise every society.
The democracy support of the international community has tended to focus on support for parliaments, elections, systems of justice, independent media, public administration reforms, decentralisation and strengthening civil society. Support for political parties has been considered to be much too political and thus much too sensitive. But recognising that an effort in this area may be political, sensitive and challenging does not change the fact that it is both important and necessary.
Denmark’s contribution in the field of development is robust and recognised. Efforts regarding social and economic conditions go hand in hand with support for governance and democracy, based on respect for the fundamental liberties and human rights. This is the platform on which the DIPD will base its work when supporting the development of well-functioning political parties and multiparty systems.