To address this topic, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation arranged on May 2-3 in Uppsala, Sweden, a meeting entitled “Towards a New Development Agenda post 2015: Governance, Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy.” Attended by civil society organizations from the North and the South, advisors to members of the High Level Panel (HLP) on the post-2015 agenda, academics, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden, and the Department for International Development, UK, the meeting discussed how narratives and a possible goal for democratic governance, just institutions and human rights might be formulated post 2015.
For the new development agenda to be truly successful, stronger structures and mechanisms for governance, rule of law, human rights and democracy must be included, the meeting found. These are essential elements for global policy and practice, and of key relevance for all countries.
The meeting also agreed that a narrative and a goal on governance, rule of law, human rights and democracy for the post-2015 framework should be based on the two central pillars of democracy: popular control of decision-making and equality in the exercise of such decision-making.
These pillars should go hand in hand with a strong commitment to accountability, transparency, participation and non-discrimination – with appropriate indicators.
Yet it is sometimes said that formulating goals for democracy is easier said than done because there are few established proper measurement mechanisms. However, the participants stressed that this is a misapprehension. There are many practical ways to measure the scope and depth of democracy, governance, rule of law and human rights, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
As a follow up to the meeting, a number of invited civil society organization representatives issued the following open letter to representatives of the High Level Panel about the need for democracy and human rights to be thoroughly represented on the new development agenda.