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Democracy & the SDGs
Monday, 15 July 2019
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Conference Room 2, UNHQ

Special event

What Is Democracy?

The global debate on democracy is increasingly marked by distrust of democratic institutions, processes and elected representatives. Yet with Sustainable Development Goal 16, a global effort is underway to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. This presents an opportunity on the sidelines of the 2019 UN Economic and Social Council ministerial segment to step up engagement around advancing Goal 16, and to encourage a thematic discussion of democracy: that while there is no one-size- fits-all model of democracy, and each country must find the model that works for its circumstances, there are fundamental characteristics these models need in common to qualify as democracies.


• Provide a platform to bring together UN, Member States, academia and civil society to focus on what constitutes the core elements and benchmarks of a true democracy, while encouraging a more constructive debate than merely reiterating the ways in which democracy is under strain.
• Demonstrate that democracy is a global good for people, including by bringing in diverse actors.
• Organize the event on the margins of the ministerial-level segment of ECOSOC, so as to feed into and inform an inter-governmental process.
• Contribute to an encouraging environment for work towards Sustainable Development Goal 16 and showcase the contribution of UNDEF in engaging civil society to achieve this.


The outcome of the discussion will be a summary paper to be distributed widely so as to encourage thought and discussion among a range of stakeholders, including Governments; UN Resident Coordinators; UN Country Teams; UN entities; parliamentarians; civil society; youth and academia.

RSVP by 8 July 2019 to
Please advise if you do not have a UN ground pass.
United Nations