FINLAND: FACILITATING MULTIPARTY DIALOGUE ON DEMOCRACY

Background:

Demo Finland is a joint organization of all the Finnish parliamentary parties and in a unique position to unite them to work for democracy. Demo Finland is a leading Finnish expert of democracy support. The vision Demo Finland works to realize is that in international development policy, political parties are recognized as duty-bearers of development, and Finland’s foreign and security policy promotes peace and development by supporting pluralistic political systems.

Our work in Finland:

In Finland, the goal of Demo Finland is to raise awareness in issues concerning development and democracy among political parties and also to enhance positive attitudes towards development co-operation among Finnish political parties. Demo Finland offers a chance for Finnish political parties and politicians to gain a practical experience in democracy support and to utilize their personal expertise from politics.

Demo Finland holds seminars and training events relating to democracy and development in Finland. Political parties have a chance to take part in Demo Finland’s work in Finland for example by participating in these events and in the visits of international delegations. The majority of Demo Finland events are open to the public. Demo Finland also does event co-operation with other stakeholders. In 2018 Demo Finland organized numerous events in cooperation with political parties, the MFA and other stakeholders and also participated in all the four party conventions that took place.

In addition to events, Demo Finland organized the Democracy Academy -training course for the women’s wings of the nine parliamentary parties together with the MFA. 28 participants from 8 different parties took part in course, which focused on development, foreign and defense policies and to deepen the participants’ understanding on the inter-linkages, as well as to strengthen the voice and role of female politicians in political discussions and decision-making. During the course the women’s organizations made a joint statement on women’s role in decision-making calling for equality in Finland’s foreign and security policy. The statement required that women’s voices must be heard in all levels of decision-making, Committee seats and chairmanships need to be divided equally between all genders and in order to challenge existing gendered structures, and half of the new ministers should be women.

ADVOCACY

Advocacy and building networks with influential stakeholders are one of the key elements of Demo Finland’s work. In 2018 Demo Finland continued this both on the national and international level. As a part of the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) network Demo Finland was engaged in supporting the update process of the European Council’s Conclusions on democracy support, and followed up the ongoing process for the EU’s new Multiannual Financial Framework, and the changes to funding for democracy support as a result. Together with EPD, International IDEA and the European Network of Political Institutions (ENOP) Demo Finland commented on the European Commission’s proposal for the MFF.

Through its board membership in the Global Partnership for Multiparty Democracy (GPMD) Demo Finland was also part of global advocacy, especially towards the UNDP but also in building global solidarity in defending democracy. Demo Finland also advocates for women’s political participation via publications and together with EPD we produced a “Women in Decision Making” -factsheet. The factsheet has proven to be very popular, garnering positive feedback from policy makers, parties and other stakeholders.

In 2018 Demo Finland also facilitated a consultation of the political parties’ youth wings on Resolution 2250 Youth, Peace and Security, regarding Finland’s National Action Plan on the resolution and continued to monitor the implementation of the national plan on Resolution 1325, Women, Peace and Security.