Chairman's Statement of the Third Bali Democracy Forum

 12/11/2010

Nusa Dua, Bali, 9-10 December 2010

I. OPENING

1. The Third Bali Democracy Forum (BDF III) was held on 9-10 December 2010 in Bali, Indonesia. The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, delivered the inaugural speech and officially opened the BDF III. H.E. Mr. Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, serving as Co-chair; His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam; and H.E Mr. Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, also spoke during the opening session of the Forum. The participation of the Leaders of other Asian countries demonstrated the importance that they give to cooperation in the promotion of democracy as a way of achieving peace and stability. The BDF III was convened at the ministerial level.

2. The BDF III was attended by representatives from 44 countries in Asia and the Pacific, namely: Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Yemen.

3. In addition, representatives of 24 countries from other regions, namely: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as 3 international organisations, namely European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Bank, were also present as observers.

4. H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, reported on the preparations for the BDF III and also on the progress of the Forum since the BDF II, including the activities of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD). The Minister reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to promoting democratic values. He also cited the strong support of countries in the region for the Bali Democracy Forum, the progress of democracy among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, their commitment to democratic values and to fostering cooperation among nations in advancing democracy in the region. He also mentioned various activities of the IPD, as the implementing arm of the BDF, during the past year.

5. In his opening speech, President Yudhoyono, stated that democracy provides room for all elements of society to engage in dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution, that democracy gives opportunity to the entire society to express their aspirations in accordance with the agreed framework, and that all the pillars of democracy must effectively function for it to succeed. He also expressed the hope that the Forum will serve as a platform for cooperation in political development resulting in home-grown democracy.

II. LEADERS' SESSION AND GENERAL DEBATE

1. The Leaders' Session was co-chaired by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr. Lee Myung-bak. The General Debate was chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

2. The President of the Republic of Korea, as the Co-chair, welcomed the fact that the Bali Democracy Forum has firmly established itself as a significant forum for the sharing of experiences of democratic development and for exploring ways to enhance cooperation in this field. He also stated that shared growth through development cooperation will contribute significantly to the spread of democracy. In this regard, he said, the Republic of Korea will expand its ODA programme and will consider providing assistance aimed at contributing to the enhancement of democratic governance.

3. In his remarks, His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam stated that Brunei Darussalam believes in promoting peace and stability through carefully planned steps. Success in such an endeavour, he said, is manifested in two ways: first, it increases the people’s capacity to achieve their life’s aspirations and, second, it allows them to take responsibility for their personal decisions and choices. He also underscored that the people of Brunei Darussalam approach democracy in accordance with their values, customs and beliefs.

4. The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste stressed that this Forum gives voice to the region on the promotion of democracy. He said that democracy requires economic prosperity and the delivery of social services that will ensure political stability. He appealed for new ways of promoting global economic and social justice and stressed that the promotion of democracy requires a change in the mindset of the people. In the context of Timor-Leste and as part of its contribution to world peace and stability, he underscored the linkage between peace-building and state-building. He also urged civil society and all citizens to actively participate in politics and state decision-making. He noted the progress towards democracy in Myanmar and called for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

5. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation highlighted their experiences on matters relating to internal conflict resolution, among others, political struggle and disputes between various factions in particular countries. They underscored the importance of political dialogue for a peaceful democratic transition. As such, democratic peace must be vigorously promoted in conflict areas. 

6. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation underlined that democracy addresses the problem of poverty, deprivation and economic marginalization, as these pose a threat to stability within a country as well as to regional and global peace and prosperity.

7. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation noted the growth of democracy in the region, derived from local and traditional knowledge, values and practices so that the resulting democratic system will be home-grown and not imposed from outside. Democracy must grow from its society through a gradual and institutional process that enhances the political system. At the same time, they stressed that the progress of the home-grown democracy in Asia should go hand in hand with universal values of democracy.

8. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation highlighted that respect for diversity and co-existence of different norms, beliefs, and cultures constitutes the strength of democracy.

9. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation pointed out the strength and benefits of democracy and good governance as tools with which to overcome problems and challenges that lie ahead. In a democracy, the government must provide for the needs of the people, ensure the availability of an avenue for the people to express their views on the performance of government and change it when found wanting.

10. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation asserted that, from a historical point of view, it takes a long time for any country to find a development path towards democracy that suits to its unique situation. The political system of each country takes shape on the basis of its history, social conditions and system of beliefs.

11. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation stated that Asia must channel its energy in the right perspective so that it continued to act as catalyst to economic development.  The formation of a Pan-Asian platform to discuss challenges to the region was proposed.  Only by mobilizing and synergizing efforts, will it be possible for Asian countries to create a world of shared peace and prosperity based on democracy.

12. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation observed that Asia has enjoyed stability and prosperity as a result of economic growth and that Asian countries are transforming themselves into democracies in ways that are unique to their respective situations.

13. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation noted that in the past year some countries have undergone experiences in deepening their democracy through, among others, a peaceful change of government by way of democratic elections.  However, it was stressed that election is not the only factor to guarantee the achievement of democracy. Other significant factors include good governance, respect for human rights and rule of law.

14. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation underlined that freedom from fear and the right to dignity are aspects of a successful fight against poverty.  Therefore, the promotion of peace and stability should be linked to democratization strategies that foster development and the achievement of the MDGs.

15. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation stressed that democracy is not irreversible and needs constant nurturing and revitalization.

16. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation recognized that the Forum provides important opportunities for sharing knowledge, best practices and experiences in advancing and promoting democratic values. The Forum also offers a venue for presenting points of view and for the search for mechanisms for resolving current and emerging issues.

17. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation stated that the Bali Democracy Forum has become an important fixture in the calendar of democratic countries in Asia and elsewhere in the world. They agreed on the need to reaffirm the role of the Forum as a regional platform for cooperation in the promotion of democracy.

18. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation agreed that democracy is not an end in itself but a means for achieving development, stability and peace.

19. The Leaders, Ministers and Heads of Delegation welcomed the commitment of countries to support efforts—financially or in-kind—in the promotion of democracy in the region.

III. INTERACTIVE SESSIONS

• Interactive Session I: “How a Democratic System Helps Prevent the Occurrence or Escalation of Violent Conflict”

1. The Interactive Session I was chaired by H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Patron of Institute for Peace and Democracy. H.E. Dr. Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Immigration of New Zealand, and H.E. Mr. Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, were the panelists.

2. In his introductory remarks, Dr. Wirajuda stressed that democracy beyond its traditional meaning of balloting and election, is government by discussion.  Democracy is, in a way, a system of conflict management.  He illustrated the experience of Indonesia in solving communal and military conflicts.  He further emphasized that the key to Indonesia’s success in combating terrorism is its ability to balance security needs with effective law enforcement, respect for human rights and democratic process.

3. During the Session, Participants exchanged their views and ideas on the challenges that diversity of norms, values and cultures may bring to democratic societies. The consensus was that these diversities can be reconciled through democratic processes.

4. The Participants expressed confidence that the development of home-grown democracy in the region will increase the stability of the Asian region. This can be achieved through, among others, exchanges of views, experiences and best practices in the region.

5. The Session underlined that a home-grown democratic system not only provides greater legitimacy to the incumbent government but is also more responsive to the dynamics of society. It provides an avenue for self-expression and builds confidence in society through dialogue. Thus democracy prevents violent conflicts and facilitates conflict resolution.

6. The Participants underscored the importance of exploring various possible democratic peace mechanisms compatible with the conditions in each country so that conflicts can be prevented or allayed at various levels.

7. The Participants believed that democracy in nature is peace seeking and, as such, it is part of the solution to conflict.  Lack of democracy, conversely, is part of the problem.  Democracy is a working process which capitalizes on dialogue, justice, mass media, education and welfare and gives an important role to civil society. 

8. The Participants emphasized on the needs to promote democracy at the national, regional and global levels.  The BDF was considered as an effective effort to promote democracy at the regional level through exchanges of views and best practices.

9. However, with regard to the international level, the Participants raised the issue of a deficit of democracy since some decisions are made by exclusive powerful groups in world community.  Reforms in international financial institutions can be replicated or extrapolated to political, security and social areas of global governance.

10. At the regional level, ASEAN is exemplary in the way it formulates an ASEAN Community based on three pillars—political and security, economic and socio-cultural—which are all important factors for the promotion of democracy. 

• Interactive Session II: “Why Democracy and Economic Development are Essential to Peace Building”

1. The Interactive Session II was chaired by Prof. Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, a member of the Board of Advisor of the IPD. H.E. Mr. Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, Minister of Foreign Ministers of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, served as the panelists.

2. In her introductory remarks, Prof. Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar said that the debate concerning the relationship and synergy between democracy and development is on the issue of which should come first. Nations do take various paths to development but it was reflected in the discussions last year that nations should attach great importance to both democracy and development and that there are different ways of achieving both. There is an importance to think about the posibility that the source of conflict can be derived from development, particularly in the countries with diverse society.

3. The Participants stressed that, while democracy is a necessity for peace, it is not sufficient.  There are other factors needed to create and sustain peace, such as economic development, prosperity and empowerment of the people.  Moreover, democracy means inclusion and participation.  Exclusion and marginalization can lead to social problems.

4. The Session recognized that countries were faced with the challenge of achieving greater political and economic equality. And that political and economic marginalization could reduce the legitimacy of democracy as it would be deemed unresponsive to the interests of the people. The meeting therefore concluded that a key factor which should be regarded as among the dividends of democracy was the extent to which economic development benefited all citizens.  

5. The Session also underlined the importance for democracy to reduce poverty to build peace and stability.

IV. FUTURE DIRECTIONS

1. The Forum welcomed the constructive proposals made by Participants for promoting BDF Agenda in priority areas of cooperation, including workshops, seminars, election visits and election training programmes and policy-oriented research and studies concerning this year's theme “Democracy and the Promotion of Peace and Stability”, both at national and regional levels.

2. During the meeting among the Delegates of the Co-Chairs of the three BDFs held in the sidelines of the Forum, it was agreed that the Forum has made significant progress since its inauguration in 2008 and has firmly established confidence among the Participants.  To seize this positive momentum, they discussed the possibility of holding a BDF Summit in 2012.  In line with this idea, it is, thus, timely for the Forum to further develop the substance of the BDF in the form of concrete programs and advance the role of the IPD.

3. The Forum exchanged views on the work programme of the IPD for 2011, which focuses on cooperation for the development of democracy and the promotion of peace and stability in the region.

4. Constructive and concrete proposals submitted to the Forum include the following:

a. Malaysia put forward the idea of establishing a “Global Movement of the Moderates” at the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly.  It is Malaysia’s belief that there is no conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims, but rather between moderates and extremists of all religions. Malaysia calls on the global community to choose moderation over extremism and cooperation over confrontation in promoting peace, pragmatism and stability for all nations.

b. Japan will host a seminar for working-level officials in April 2011, when the Tokyo gubernatorial election takes place and invites working level officials to attend this event. Japan proposes an “Election Training Program”, to take place once a year in Bali, to bring together participants from the “Election Visits Program” to study practical matters related to electoral systems and procedures.  Japan invites all nations represented at the BDF III to be a part of this undertaking.

c. India is committed to join hands in assisting nascent democracies to overcome difficulties in applying democratic institutions since it is important for democratic nations to share their experiences and work together for the common good by strenghening democratic processes and institutions through unified efforts, including through networking.

d. Russia, as an Asia-Pacific democratic state, intends to take an active part in the Bali Democracy Forum’s activities.  It is ready to share experiences and ideas and at the same time to learn from other countries, to take part in the common efforts aimed at enhancing democratic institutions, fostering democracy, protecting human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

e. New Zealand is discussing with the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD) the possibility of making further secondments, similar to the visiting fellowship of Mr. Michael Green, former Ambassador to Indonesia, to the Institute. It reiterates the offer made previously to share its experience of democracy, both at home and abroad, with Forum members who are interested.  New Zealand is also pleased to receive visits from countries attending the Forum to study its approach to democracy.

f. Mongolia informed participating countries that it will take up the chairmanship of the Community of Democracies (CoD) in 2011.  In this respect, Mongolia suggested the CoD and the BDF should work together to share best practices and experiences on democratic development among countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

5. The Participants requested that the IPD, as the implementing agency of the BDF, in consultation with the Co-chairs of the BDF III, the Patrons and the Board of Advisory of the IPD, organize the activities.

V.  CLOSING

1. The Bali Democracy Forum III received wide appreciation from the participating countries and was commended for being the sole Forum in the region that provides opportunity for countries to hold open discussion on their home-grown approaches to democracy.

2. The level of attendance and representation reveals a high degree of comfort among countries in the region with the process and their confidence in it. During the two-day proceedings, participating countries shared their successful experiences and best practices in the promotion of democracy in their respective countries and at the same time identified shortcomings and challenges they still face.

3. The Participants thanked the Government of the Republic of Korea for co-chairing the Forum this year. They also expressed appreciation to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, for chairing the Ministerial Session.

4. The Forum acknowledged the important contributions of H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda and Prof. Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, the Chairpersons of the interactive sessions as well as to the panelists for their valuable insights.

5. The Forum also acknowledged the important contributions of participating states, organizations and individuals to the Bali Democracy Forum as well as to IPD.

6. The Forum noted the Second Bali Media Forum:  Prime Time for Ethics – Reporting in Times of Crisis in Tuban, Bali, on 8-9 December 2010 held in the sidelines of the BDF III.

7. The Participants expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for hosting and chairing the Bali Democracy Forum III as well as fostering the cordial discussions that took place in the Forum.

Bali, 10 December 2010