Indonesia to Hold Fourth BDF

08 December, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Post

Indonesia will host the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) next month with Bangladesh as the co-chair.

The BDF, scheduled for Dec. 8–9 in Nusa Dua, Bali, is intended to be a venue for government representatives to share their respective countries’ latest democratic developments.

“In the light of how democracy develops in the world today, there is a need for us, governments, to find way to respond to people’s aspirations,” Foreign Ministry director for public diplomacy Kusuma Habir told journalists on Friday.

With the theme of “Enhancing Democratic Participation in a Changing World: Responding to Democratic Voices”, the BDF will have two interactive sessions — the ability of a state to respond to the voice of democracy and ensuring democratic space for the participation of civil society, according to Kusuma.

She said there would be no specific agenda for discussing the Arab Spring, but one of the interactive discussions would probably touch on the issue as Middle Eastern countries were expected to contribute to the discussions.

Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Bahrain were among the Middle Eastern countries that have confirmed their participation in the BDF, she said.

Some 50 countries have registered for the BDF so far, and more are expected to follow suit.

The first BDF, in 2008, had 40 participating countries. In 2009 and 2010 the number of participating states
increased to 48 and 71, respectively.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will chair the BDF with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina Wazed as the cochair.

Other state leaders who will attend are Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Qatar Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani and a Turkish deputy prime minister.

The Habibie Center’s Institute for Democracy and Human Rights chairwoman and a special adviser to Vice President Boediono, Dewi Fortuna Anwar, said there were still many Middle Eastern and Asian countries that were unable to “brilliantly” accommodate public aspirations.

“That’s why conflicts between governments and people frequently happen and cause casualties,” Dewi, who will moderate one of the interactive sessions, told The Jakarta Post. “We need to learn how a state can be more responsive and in harmony [with its people].”

She said social media would also be one of the topics to be discussed, as it took center stage in the Arab spring with people using Facebook and Twitter to grow support and gather people. “All countries will be overwhelmed if they don’t know how to respond to [the growing use of social media in democratic processes].”

 

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