World Forum for Democracy which took place in Strasbourg in November has provided preliminary conclusions. The insights gathered during the World Forum meetings inform the work of the Council of Europe and its numerous partners in the field of democracy and democratic governance.
Democracies across the world feel increasingly vulnerable to a diverse range of threats – from violent extremism to economic, technological, environmental and geopolitical risks. Fear, and particularly the fear generated by violent attacks such as those carried out in 2015 in Paris, Copenhagen and in other parts of the world, destabilises societies. The lack of guarantees for the protection of personal data sharpens anxieties. In this context, the growing tension between the concern for safety and the protection of freedoms is one of the key challenges facing democracies today.
How to maintain a balance between security and freedom in a democratic society under threat? Can democracies resist the escalation of fear and formulate responses based on civic responsibility and active citizenship? Can they deal effectively with security risks linked to the digital revolution without jeopardising individual rights and freedoms, the benefits of the digital revolution and democratic institutions?
These questions will be in focus at the 2015 World Forum for Democracy.