International Day of Democracy 2021: History, significance of September 15
September 15 is celebrated as International Day of Democracy after being established in 2007 through a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In the words of the United Nations, “International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world. Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of the international community, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality.”
The International Day of Democracy owes its existence to the Universal Declaration on Democracy, which was adopted on September 15, 1997 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which is an international organisation of national parliaments. In the following years, Qatar led efforts to promote an International Day of Democracy. Finally, on November 8, 2007, the day was established as the UNGA adopted by consensus the resolution titled “Support by United Nations system of efforts of governments to promote and consolidate a new or restored democracies.”
The IPU suggested that the occasion be celebrated on September 15 to commemorate the adoption of Universal Declaration on Democracy 10 years prior.
The first such celebration took place in 2008. Every year, events take place under an individual theme. In 2020, the theme was “Covid-19: A Spotlight on Democracy,” while celebrations in 2019 took place under the theme “Participation.” From 2013 to 2016, the events took place under the taglines of “Strengthening voices for democracy,” “Engaging youth on democracy,” “Space for civil society” and “Democracy and 2030 agenda for sustainable development,” respectively, while that for 2018 was “Democracy under strain: Solutions for a changing world.”