1. The need for democratization is deeply felt by many countries, as we pursue the democratic ideal: democracy at the level of the United Nations, democracy at the regional level, and democracy within the nation. While we have heard many commitments to this end, the fact remains that there is a need for greater effort in international cooperation to strengthen democratic institutions at all levels. In the Asian region, such international cooperation is even more urgent given the stark differences in political development among countries in the region.
2. To this day Indonesia continues to nurture its young democracy and seeing to it that democracy takes root-not only by holding free elections, but also by working hard to provide good governance, to sustain a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government, and to strengthen the roles of the mass media and civil society in our national life. During the past ten years of reform, we have accumulated much experience. And we are also keen to learn from the experience of others.
3. Indonesia views that it is inevitable to establish a regional forum on democracy which will contribute to the enlargement and intensification of dialogue as well as the growth of mutual understanding and appreciation among the nations of the region. In the long run, the forum will hopefully contribute to the cause of world peace and stability.
II. THE BALI DEMOCRACY FORUM I, 2008
4. Indonesia has launched the first Bali Democracy Forum on 10 – 11 December 2008 in Bali with Australia as the Co-Chair. The theme of the 2008’s BDF was “Building and Consolidating Democracy: A Strategic Agenda for Asia”. The forum was attended by four (4) Head of States/Government, namely the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister of Timor Leste and the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Also attending were thirty two (32) participating countries from the Asian region and 8 observers.
5. The first Bali Democracy Forum produced a Chairman’s Statement, which states among others:
o Democracy is an on-going process. It is best served when it enhances people’s political participation.
o The best way to consolidate democracy is by strengthening its institutions and by subordinating everyone to the supremacy of law.
o Democracy is a key element in the promotion of peace and stability in the region.
o There is a need for countries in Asia to promote greater political cooperation.
o There is a need to search for political and economic format and governance in order to promote economic development and democracy that fits to the socio-economic conditions of respective countries in the region
6. The first Bali Democracy Forum agreed that the forum should be based on an agreed common goals and objectives, strategies and principles as well as priority areas for cooperation, as follows:
Goals and Objectives:
1. To place democracy as a strategic agenda in regional discourse in Asia;
2. To forge closer understanding and cooperation amongst participating countries of the Bali Democracy Forum;
3. To establish a regional cooperation forum that promotes political development, through dialogue and sharing of experience and aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and national capacities;
4. To initiate a learning and sharing process among countries in Asia as a strategy towards the maintenance of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and beyond;
5. To initiate and build a platform for mutual support and cooperation in the field of democracy and political development;
6. To function as a resource base and information center for research and study as well as a pool of expertise in the various sectors relevant to democracy;
1. An inter-governmental forum and not an organization;
2. An inclusive inter-governmental forum – open to all countries in the region, democracies and those aspiring to be more democratic;
3. An Indonesian initiative to garner a sense of shared-ownership among participating countries;
4. Based on equality, mutual respect, and tolerance, mutual understanding, and mutual benefits;
1. Conduct annual high-level forum of foreign ministers or other ministers and prominent figures;
2. Endorse the important role of the Institute for Peace and Democracy as the implementing arm of the Bali Democracy Forum to conduct technical seminars/workshops, research, studies, trainings and joints missions for senior government officers and experts to share ideas and experiences;
3. Gain support from governments and other partner outside the region;
4. Establish networks with relevant regional and international organizations, including NGOs and the media;
Areas of Priority
1. Strengthening and developing electoral process;
2. Enhancing and the role of political parties;
3. Upholding the rule of law and strengthening judicial integrity and capacity;
4. Developing and Maintaining check-and-balances among the main branches of Governments;
5. Promoting good governance (transparency an accountability);
6. Promoting democracy and socio-economic development, including national and regional economic resilience;
7. Ensuring access to basic public information;
8. Ensuring access to basic public needs;
9. Fostering the role of women and gender equity;
10. Ensuring freedom of religion and upholding religious tolerance;
11. Nurturing a culture of democracy, peace and harmony;
12. Fostering the participation of civil society and youth;
13. Promoting the role of mass media in democratic society;
14. Utilizing information technology to promote political communication.
III. BALI DEMOCRACY FORUM II, 2009
7. The first Bali Democracy Forum in 2008 has placed democracy as a strategic agenda in the Asian region. Therefore, it was timely to hold a second Bali Democracy Forum which was held on 10 – 11 December 2009 in Nusa Dua, Bali with Japan as Co-Chair. The forum was attended by four (4) Heads of State/Government, namely the President of the Republic of Indonesia, the Sultan of Brunei, the Prime Minister of Japan, and the Prime Minister of Timor Leste. Also present were thirty five (35) countries from across Asia and thirteen (13) observing countries from the American and European regions.
8. The general theme of the second Bali Democracy Forum was “Promoting Synergy between Democracy and Development in Asia: Prospects for Regional Cooperation”. The second Bali Democracy Forum also introduced two interactive sessions among Ministers. The themes of these sessions are:
1. “Democracy and the Rule of Law”, and
2. “Democracy and Development in the Information Age”.
9. The Chairman’s Statement of the second Bali Democracy Forum contains the following:
o Though Democracy and development are two different concepts but inter-twined, democracy and development are two processes that can strengthen one another.
o The Forum agreed to develop areas of priority for cooperation in democracy as a strategic agenda and to promote synergy between democracy and development in Asia and other forms of regional cooperation.
o The Forum underlined the need for collective efforts to intensify capacity building in the field of democracy and recognized the integral role of women in democracy.
IV. PLANS FOR BALI DEMOCRACY FORUM III, 2010
10. The Bali Democracy Forum III is expected to be convened on 9-10 December 2010 in Bali, Indonesia with the main theme “Democracy and the Promotion of Peace and Stability”. 52 countries from the Asia Pacific region will be invited to the third Bali Democracy Forum, including 15 Heads of State/Government, and also 39 countries and international organizations as observers.