Dear Direct Democrats around the world,
There is a new leader on the direct democracy horizon: Taiwan.
As democracy stagnates in many countries, and direct democracy suffers from lack of support, the island nation in East Asia has taken historic steps to move forward. Taiwan’s new Referendum law, less than two years old, is considered a global model for initiative and referendum. Already by the end of this year a first series of citizen´s initiatives and popular referendums will be at the ballot boxes across the island.
But how is it working in practice? What are the lessons of the first years of modern direct democracy in the new powerhouse of citizens participation? What is happening across East and South Asia and the West Pacific? The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy is heading to the ´beautiful island´- or ´Formosa´ as called by the Portuguese - to find out. You are invited to Taichung, Taiwan’s second most populous city, for the 2019 Global Forum, October 2-5, 2019.
Taichung, on the island’s western coast, is an exceptionally warm place. Its weather is considered Taiwan’s best. Its civic and night life draw you in. And the city of Taichung has been a leader in Taiwan’s democratization, pushing for devolving power from the national government to local citizens.
Taichung also has been a leader in international cooperation, and the welcoming of NGOs and people interested in making the world a better place. The city is transforming an old industrial district—once used to make sake—into a center for international NGOs.
The city’s invitation to host the Global Forum is of a piece of this international commitment. And the 2019 Global Forum comes with a special twist. In Taichung, we will be finalizing the work on the “Magna Charta,” the new charter for “democracy cities,” that began in 2018 in Rome. And we will be launching the new International League of Democracy Cities.
Taichung and Taiwan thus offer a fascinating context for what promises to be a history-making forum. Please make your plans for the eighthedition of the leading world conference on direct and participatory democracy, October 2-5, 2019. As at previous Global Forums, we expect there will be briefing tour in the days before the main event begins.
At this stage your are most welcome to pre-register for the 2019 Global Forum and learn more details, by going to 2019globalforum.com
Bruno Kaufmann and Joe Mathews, co-president,s Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy