I. ACTIVITIES REPORT (SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2014)
The Third International Young Leaders Academy Youth Participation in Politics: Challenges and Opportunities was organised in cooperation with the Young Leaders Forum. As a traditional youth dimension event of the Community of Democracies, it was hosted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and received a lot of attention from parliamentarians, diplomats, the staff of the Office of the Seimas, representatives from international organisations and academicians. In the framework of the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme, the main donor, third year in a row, was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, as it is the continuing commitment of the Lithuanian Government to contribute to the youth and parliamentary dimensions of the Community of Democracies.
Acting Secretary General Viktorija Bražiūnaitė participated in the Meeting of the Community of Democracies as a member of the Working Group on Women and Democracy, which discussed activities and future plans.
Mr Emanuelis Zingeris, President of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, attended the parliamentary forum on combating terrorism held by the Congress of the United States of America. Since the meeting was secret, more detailed information about the content of the meeting is not possible to deliver.
The delegation of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy joined the election observation missions to Ukraine and Moldova, where they agreed to further cooperation.
Members of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy met with the delegation from Israel’s Knesset. The meeting focussed on parliamentary cooperation in fighting terrorism and radicalisation, on threats to security, the situation in the Middle East and prospects of cooperation.
II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In 2009–2011, Lithuania chaired the Community of Democracies, an intergovernmental coalition, which was established in Warsaw on 25–27 June 2000 under the initiative of the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and the Polish Foreign Minister, Bronislaw Geremek. Today it comprises more than 100 democracies or developing democracies, pursuing to strengthen democratic standards and practices worldwide.
When marking the 20th anniversary of Lithuania’s Independence in 2010, the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy (hereinafter referred to as the PFD) was established by adopting the Vilnius Declaration. The Vilnius Declaration was signed by 43 parliamentarians from 18 countries who committed themselves to work together to strengthen democracy where it is weak and invigorate it even where it is longstanding, to promote peace, development, human rights and freedoms, gender equality, and equal opportunities in their respective countries and around the world. (Vilnius Declaration, 12 March 2010)
When Mongolia took over the presidency of the Community of Democracies in 2011, Lithuania committed itself to fully support its parliamentary dimension in front of the international community. Consequently, the PFD was officially registered in Vilnius on 2 August 2011.
The PFD currently complements the cooperation between the governments of the Community of Democracies and non-governmental organizations. PFD members meet each year to prepare proposals for the development of democracy in the world as well as to share their experience of parliamentary work with countries heading towards democracy and groups seeking democracy in authoritarian regimes. They also aim to reinforce democracy in their countries. One of the main objectives of the Forum is to strengthen the role of the parliament as one of the most important public institutions ensuring democratic governance.
The Lithuanian Parliament assists the PFD by providing an office and covering all expenses related to the maintenance of the office. On special occasions it will be possible to use other parliamentary facilities and services in order to organize international meetings, seminars, conferences, teleconferences or similar events.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides support to different international projects aimed at strengthening development of democracy.
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