INDONESIA promotes inclusive democracy in order to improve prosperity by holding The 11th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) in Nusa Dua, Bali, on December 6 to 7.
The Forum--attended by 470 participants from 92 countries--focuses on the theme Democracy for prosperity. The forum will discuss how democracy can support inclusive welfare without undermining economic development sustainability.
“The Indonesian government continues to try to show [the world] that democracy is a tool to eliminate and reduce inequality, and democracy provides the opportunity for a balanced economic and political growth,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said in a press conference following her opening remarks at the Forum in Nusa Dua, Thursday.
Given that this year’s BDF focuses on economic development and reducing social inequality, Marsudi said, for the first time the committee invited business people to join the forum.
They are expected to share their experience on how democracy can support business growth. A number of studies, one of them is the Democracy Index released by the UK-based The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), showed a positive correlation between democracy and prosperity.
In addition to that, another study done by the World Economic Forum (WEF) identified the positive impact of democracy on economic reform and investment. It also improved government capacity and preventing social conflicts.
To achieve an inclusive democracy, participation from all stakeholders are needed, especially the private sector, the millennial generation and women. “Private sector has to become the driving force in achieving inclusive [economic] prosperity. They can also partner with the government to strengthen democracy,” Marsudi said.
She further said that inclusive democracy also requires the role of women to apply democratical values.
“Women can provide a peaceful solution to break political stagnation, allowing democracy to grow and provide beneficial results to the people,” she said.
A positive development
Marsudi also said, based on the report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Asia’s Democracy Index showed a positive development.
“Democracy in our region is developing positively, its progress even surpasses other regions in the world,” she said.
According to the report, the Democracy Index for Asia has increased from 5.05 in 2006 to 5.42 in 2016. The index was based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.
In contrast to Asia, the global democracy situation showed a different trend as democratic values faced a number of challenges.
The reluctance to listen to the people’s voices, repression on the freedom of the press, the spread of hoaxes and fake news, were all challenges that many countries had to face, even those that were previously known as ’champion of democracy’.
Democracy regression at the global level, according to Marsudi, was partially caused by the lack of ’inclusivity’ of democracy itself. Democracy and its benefits were not yet sufficiently enjoyed by the various layers of society.
Democratic institutions have failed to provide its people with security and prosperity. The lack of protection for pluralism and diversity has further eroded public’s trust in democracy. “With this reason, it is our collective task to ensure that Asia’s positive democracy development can be replicated in other regions,” she said.
What the world needs now is a democracy that can unify, provide hope and empower the people. Indonesia’s contribution in promoting positive democracy can be seen through its efforts in organizing the Bali Democracy Forum.
The annual forum facilitates various countries to openly share their experiences regarding the practice of democracy in their respective countries, without any disposition on which democracy practice as the best.
“There is no democratic country that is immune to setbacks, which is why the continuity of democracy needs to be maintained through mutual learning and building a strong generation among democratic countries,” Marsudi said.
The two-day discussion will be utilized to convince attending countries how democracy can support prosperity for all without hampering economic development sustainability. (Tes/Ant/S-2)