15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

The curtain raiser to the Summit, the High Level Corporate Dialogue, will be hosted on February 4, 2015 and will focus on ‘Delhi to Paris: Corporate Vision on Climate Change’.

Delhi to Paris
Deliberations at the High Level Corporate Dialogue will culminate into a document which will form the basis for evolving a roadmap, highlighting the distinct challenges and opportunities for each issue and/or sector, and preparing a concrete corporate plan for the post-2015 Development Agenda. This will serve as a guideline/pledge for corporates to design their businesses and CSR initiatives in a manner that contributes towards lowering our carbon footprint and tackling climate change.

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PUBLICATION: Next Generation Democracy Looking Forward

Between the 23rd and the 25th of November 2014, under the framework of the Next Generation Democracy Project (NGD), the Club de Madrid and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) partnered to facilitate a policy dialogue -“Democracy and Human Rights in Decline? A Call to Action”- hosted by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Forty Club de Madrid Members and 100 renowned experts on democracy from academia, international organizations, think tanks, the private sector and civil society jointly assessed the quality and state of democracy around the world and discussed transformative ideas and practices that could contribute to preventing its decline.


The policy dialogue launched the NGD Project, a Club de Madrid-led, two-year, multi-stakeholder process that will progressively identify key elements and develop both regional and global action-oriented agendas aimed at advancing democracy. The Bertelsmann Stiftung, one of our main NGD partners, drafted preliminary regional reports on recent trends and prospects in democratic development. These were then reviewed and enriched by NGD regional partners including the Atlantic Council, Observer Research Foundation , FRIDE, Carnegie Middle-East Center, FLACSO network in Latin America and the Institute for Security Studies.


Working group discussions and plenary sessions during the policy dialogue offered additional elements relevant to a diagnosis of the current state and the future of democracy and have been compiled in the following report:

Conclusions form the Policy Dialogue “Democracy and Human Rights in Decline? A Call to Action


See the Flickr Photo Gallery of the Policy Dialogue at

E-Book: Conference “Democracy and Human Rights in Decline? A call for action

Democracy and Human Rights in Decline? A Call to Action,” is a Policy Dialogue co-organized by the Club de Madrid (CdM) and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center), and hosted by the European University Institute (EUI) taking place November 24-25, 2014 in Florence, Italy. The conference will serve as the launch of the two-year multi-stakeholder Next Generation Democracy (NGD) Project.

For more information about the confence, download the E-Book here

Visit the Event website

OP-ED: “Why we can not fully celebrate” by Club de Madrid about the quality of democracy

Today the world is celebrating the International Day of Democracy. On this special occasion Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Club de Madrid and former President of Latvia, has signed an Op-Ed on behalf of the 97 Members of the Club de Madrid expressing their concern about the state and quality of Democracy worldwide. The Op-Ed has been published by spanish leading newspaper El País.



Members of the Club de Madrid express concern on International Democracy Day

The spread of democracy around the world has undoubtedly been one of the major political achievements of the 20th century. The 2011 uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt seemed to herald yet another wave of democratic transitions, political freedom and economic prosperity in regions that for decades have been plagued with unrelenting authoritarian rule, repression and corruption. Expectations of swift and wide-ranging transitions have, however, been mostly frustrated. Once again in 2014, Freedom House highlights alarming setbacks rather than advancement in political rights and civil liberties in most transitional regimes.

Even though the numbers of those voting in 2014 have been greater than ever before, analysts observe that “democracy appears to be in a holding pattern around the world—if not outright retreat.”[1] Elections, although essential, are only a tool for the implementation of democracy. According to the UN General Assembly resolution that established the International Day of Democracy that we celebrate today, democracy is a system based on the “freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.”[2] People today want to express their will broadly and deeply, in ‘…all aspects of life…’, not just with a ballot every four or five years. Representative democracy is not keeping up with the growing demand for direct participation, and the result is growing disaffection.

That ‘fourth wave of democracy’ thought to have been set off by the Arab Spring has been followed by an intricate web of dramatic conflicts in and around Syria; mounting tensions in Wider Europe flowing from Russia’s actions in Ukraine; and the continuing muzzling of on and offline citizen voices from Latin America to the Middle East, among others. The world seems to be lurching from one crisis to another and, while there are encouraging developments in Myanmar, Indonesia, Colombia, Tunisia, and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, global trends are nevertheless far from propitious. New and often subtle forms of populism and authoritarian behavior are appearing in a variety of countries, irrespective of past democratic credentials. The resurgence of terrorism from certain groups of Islamic fundamentalists will not only continue to taint foreign policy, it could again result in a further weakening of individual rights and democratic values as governments struggle with tensions between liberty and security.

If these disquieting trends continue to deteriorate, the future of democracy will soon be in real jeopardy. Political stress is being exacerbated by growing inequality within nations, even in the face of significant poverty reduction globally. The expansion of middle classes beyond ‘Western industrialized countries’ has broadened access to education and technology for hundreds of millions in emerging regions of the world, rapidly expanding the needs and expectations of newly empowered citizens and putting insurmountable pressure on slimming public institutions. On the one hand, new pro-democratic movements, often led by the youngest generations of citizens, are intensively using social media and communication technologies all over the world in order to generate values for a truly global democracy. On the other hand, the economic crisis that began in 2008 has created additional strains, particularly in consolidated democracies, where long-established middle classes are experiencing a sharp decline in living standards. The expectations of citizens for a better future are being thwarted at such a pace that democratic institutions may not be able to cope.

Democratic economic governance is a relatively new concept. Even if, for many, democracy only has a political facet, economic policies are at the heart of today´s governance and cannot be shielded from claims for greater participation. Inclusive access to the market economy is central to the future of democracy. The progressive decoupling of democracy and capitalism entails rethinking capitalism in democracy. Democratic countries need to show that they can be no less efficient in creating conditions for all citizens to live a decent life than those nondemocratic states where the market economy has already taken root.

Democracy is today facing another, apparently ‘external’, danger. Contemporary democracy needs not only continue to be sustainable as the best form of governance, but must also secure a sustainable planet for the sake of future generations. Here again, the electoral cycle induces short-termism precisely when lasting commitments are desperately needed. A long-term, global, economic and social deal is essential if our soil and air are to continue being suitable for humankind to exist.

The progressive fragmentation of decision-making (a consequence and defining feature of modern, multi-level democracy) is making effective responses more difficult, in spite of increasingly well-informed leaders and societies. While the crisis in democracy is manifesting itself differently in different regions of the world, commonalities among regions have never been more apparent. People are hungry for mobility, interaction and participation, within and beyond national borders, but defensive identities are often leading to exclusion and radicalization. There is no law of the pendulum in sight, but rather the unfolding of simultaneous and contradictory processes.

As Members of the Club de Madrid, we are convinced that democratic governance is the answer. Governance determines our lives as individuals and members of our community and organizes the use of resources and the economy in general. Governance must therefore generate collaboration across sectors in order to protect our rights and provide for the preservation of ecosystems while creating business opportunities for all. We are convinced that no form of governance but democratic governance can effectively deal with such multifaceted challenge in an inclusive manner.

During the coming months, the Club de Madrid, with various partners and stakeholders from different regions of the world, will be leading a collaborative and participatory Next Generation Democracy (NGD) project aimed at reversing signals of decline and advancing democracy. On the basis of a thoughtful analysis of trends in democratic development from 2000 to 2015 and projections towards 2030, we will develop regional and global agendas compiling emerging values and innovative practices and ideas on democracy.

No pessimistic diagnosis will discourage democratic thinking and action. Let us today cautiously celebrate democracy, recognizing that much remains to be done and all contributions are welcome. As this year´s Day of Democracy highlights, our common endeavor cannot be fulfilled without actively engaging young people as future but also current leaders of democracy.


Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia, on behalf of the 97 democratic, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, Members of the Club de Madrid

[1] Uri Friedman, “Report: Global Freedom Has Been Declining for Nearly a Decade,” The Atlantic, January 23, 2014.

[2] Preamble, UNGA Res. A/62/7 (2007).


Read here the spanish version of this Op-Ed

Monday 24th: Join the live broadcast of the ‘Democracy and Human Rights in Decline?’ policy dialogue

The Club de Madrid and the RFK Center, with the Bertelsmann Stiftung as knowledge partner, are organizing this policy dialogue on the quality of democracy in Florence from the 23rd to the 25th of November. The aim: finding innovative ideas to foster democracy worldwide all over the world and revert the signs of the system’s decline. The plenary sessions will be live streammed in our website, starting on Monday 24tth

Every session from the Policy dialogue will also be tweeted by the following accounts: @CLUBdeMADRID, @RFKCenter and @RFKEurope and the hashtag to follow the disccussions will be #NGD.

The webstreaming will start on Monday 24th  at 13.00 CET with the plenary session ‘Setting the Scene-The State of Democracy’.

Have a look here to the list of confirmed participants (As of 18th of November) and the detailed program

General strcuture of the policy dialogue:


Sunday 23rd

20.15 Journalist accraditation Robert F. Kennedy International House di Firenze, Via Ghibelina 12/A

21.00: Inaugural Dinner, “The future of democratic governance”.

Welcome remarks by:

Romano Prodi: former Prime Minister of Italy and Club de Madrid Member

Vaira Vike-Freiberga: President of the Club de Madrid and former President of Latvia

Dario Nardella: Mayor of Florence

Keynote speech:

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy


Due to severe room limitations media will have to be previously accredited. Accreditations will be granted  in a first to come basis with a very restricted number of journalist


Monday 24th

12.00 Journalist accreditation

12.45 Press Conference at the European University Institute, Badia Fiesolona. Via Roccettini 9, San Domenico di Fiesole-Florence. Precise room to be confirmed


Vaira Vike Freiberga: President of the Club de Madrid and former President of Latvia

Jorge Fernando Quiroga: VP of the Club de Madrid and former President of Bolivia

Santiago Cantón: Executive Director, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Joseph Weiler: President of the European University Institute


13.15-15.30 Plenary sessions: “Setting the Scene-The State of Democracy” y “Next Generation Democracy-What, Why and How” Sala Reffetorio (live streaming)


From Monday 24th at 15.30 to Tuesday 25th at 12.00, five regional working groups on five regions Sub-Saharan Africa, Americas, Asia-Oceania, Wider Europe and Post Soviet Eurasia and Broader MENA will analyze the following subjects:

– Diagnosis: Projecting 2000-2015 democratic trends into 2015-2030

– Advancing Democratic Values and Transforming Institutions

– Advancing Democratic Policies and Management

– Advancing Access and Inclusiveness in Democracy

Tuesday 25th

12.00-13.30 Special Plenary Session (Live streaming)

Democracy, Human Rights and Foreign Policy, designed by the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights

15.15-17.00 Plenary Session (Live streaming)

Next Generation Democracy for a Sustainable Future. Sponsored by Partnership for Change (PfC)

18.30-19.00 Closing Remarks (Live streaming)


Club de Madrid Members, (former democratically elected Presidents and PM’s); Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia), Jorge Fernando Quiroga (Bolivia) Kjell M. Bondevik (Norway); Felipe Calderón (Mexico); Kim Campbell (Canada); Ricardo Lagos (Chile); John Kufuor (Ghana); Sadiq al Mahdi (Sudan); Olesegun Obasanjo (Nigeria);  George Papandreu (Greece)Roza Otunbayeva (Kyrgyzstan) or Jigme Yoser Tingley (Buthan) among others

ExpertsLarry Diamond from Stanford University and Professor JHH Weiler, President of the EUI; Roelf Meyer (former South African minister under F. W. De Klerk and Nelson Mandela and key facilitator of South Africa’s transition to democracy); Beatriz Merino (former Prime Minister of Peru); entrepreneurs and philanthropists like Mo Ibrahim and Steve Killelea, President of the Institute for Economics and PeaceGiovani Grevi (FRIDE), Ismael Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria

International organizations: Bertelsmann Stiftung, UN, OECD, SEGIB, Community of Democracies, Human Rights Watch, OXFAM, Partnership for Change, The Carter Center, IDEA, FLACSO, Carnegie Middle East Center, Microsoft, Acxiom, Library of Alexandria.

If you are interested in covering the 2014 Policy Dialogue or wish to request one to one interviews please visit and fill in the accreditation form in the Press Room Section.

Club de Madrid, Media Contacts:

Luis Pérez: +34 607 694 354 // + 34 91 154 82 38

Susana Mañueco: + 34 626 20 93 30 // + 34 154 82 36


RFKC Media Contacts: Europe: Valeria D’Agostino: + 39 055 5389250 // + 39 349 2210113, Jim Santel (US)


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