on Democracy - Summation of Best Practices and Key Ideas
of Democracies Brings Africans and Latin Americans Together
in Coral Gables, Florida to Share Ideas on Strengthening Democracy
in their Regions
June 5-6, 2003 Dialogue on Democracy meeting, representatives
of the 14 participating countries from government, parliament,
and civil society, discussed the following ideas and best
practices related to regional action to protect and promote
democracy and other steps to consolidate democratic institutions.
There was broad consensus that regional, national, and individual
efforts to bolster democracies must broaden the scope of action,
the types of partners, and the tools used.
more advanced and coherent regional preventive action strategies,
including monitoring and early warning systems, and bolster
political will for strong action.
regional incentives and punitive measures to encourage backsliding
and fragile democracies, to create conditions favorable
to democratic development and/or to achieve political consensus
between political groups; regional action should be done
in a timely way to ensure regional engagement provides maximum
influence on a worsening situation.
implementation of democracy clauses in regional agreements
to promote preventive and reactive action, which can address
deteriorating democracy and to encourage governmental and
the will of regional bodies to condemn publicly and unequivocally
human rights abuses and authoritarian acts, rather than
avoiding such action because of perceived infringement of
sovereignty; while respecting sovereignty of a country is
essential, this cannot be used to justify inaction toward
blatant abuses of basic international standards.
sub-regional organizations (SADC, ECOWAS, CARICOM, MERCOSUR,
and others) to promote democratic development, prevent backsliding,
and address challenges to democracy.
sub-regional organizations as a vehicle to address transnational
problems that also threaten democracy, i.e. public health
concerns, narco-trafficking, terrorism, etc.
stronger ties between sub-regional and regional organizations
to ensure that action or peer review is done at one level
if impossible at the other.
mechanisms for systematic consultation with civil society
regarding design and implementation of regional strategies
to strengthen democracy.
that citizenries be educated about the regional and national
commitments to democracy and the rights and responsibilities
of participating in a democratic society.
a “culture of democracy” which ensures more
active citizen engagement in their society and promotes
tolerance, pluralism, and other basic elements of democratic
highest – not lowest – common denominators when
developing strong peer review mechanisms for democratic
action, including establishing election standards; select
countries for participating in peer review based on similarly
judicial and legislative instruments to ensure greater public
access to government and to strengthen the right of citizens
to participate in governing process.
transparency in the financing of political parties/politics.
and bolster formal public education programs among youth
in primary schools and among communities on democracy in
order to deepen the citizenry’s understanding of democracy
and to foster the concept of democracy as a part of the
and strengthen the role of parliaments, political parties
and non-governmental organizations in promoting democracy,
raising awareness among citizens, and advocating the importance
of regional organizations; this can also be done through
various means including the internet, NGO forums, participation
in meetings; Strengthen the coordination among these entities
and between these and the executive branch.
impunity under existing laws, including anti-corruption
laws; where needed create or strengthen anti-corruption
and ethics laws.
institutions, including electoral systems, that are inclusive
of all citizens in order to reduce political, ethnic, and
tribal division and violence; create conditions that will
allow for free, fair, and inclusive elections.
power and resources to local decision-making bodies and
develop an agenda for social, economic and political development.
full integration of marginalized populations, i.e. the poor,
women, into the political process, economic sphere, etc.
implementation of Democratic charters, like the Inter-American
Democratic Charter, and encourage fuller contact between
the OAS and the AU.
eradication is important and must be included in a democracy’s
agenda. However, democratization can take place in a country
with poor economic development, and can be an essential
element to lifting a country out of poverty. Political and
economic reform, coupled with support for human development,
including education and health, are all essential parallel
elements of a country’s development.
and fair democratic elections are a fundamental element
of democratic development, as it is the vehicle most likely
to put accountable government and institutions in place.
In addition to elections and the strengthening of democratic
institutions, there are many other elements that impact
democratization, including combating poverty, peace building,
and fighting transnational concerns, such as terrorism,
organized crime, public health issues; these must be addressed