Tangerang. Representatives of 96 countries and seven international organizations gathered in Tangerang, Banten, on Thursday (07/12) for the 10th Bali Democracy Forum, or BDF, which had to be moved from the holiday island due to Mount Agung's volcanic activity.
"Does Democracy Deliver?" is the meeting's central question, which amid current geopolitical upheavals reflects the need to ensure that democracy as a system is still able to fulfill its own promises.
"Democracy cannot be replicated for each and everyone ... Indonesia believes that democracy is a tool, not a destination," Vice President Jusuf Kalla said during his keynote speech.
Baron Divavesi Waqa, the president of Nauru, said that threats to democratic governance are often caused by "feelings of deep dissatisfaction and alienation," which are present even in some of the world's most exemplary democracies.
While there is value in international cooperation and assistance, according to Waqa a just balance must be kept to guarantee democratic governance and not to undermine it.
He also said that the future of democracy depends on the fulfillment of various international commitments, especially to eradicate poverty, tackle the issue of climate change, and to uphold sustainable development.
"If we are to deliver on democratic promises, the international community must fulfill its multilateral commitments, particularly the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda," Waqa said.
At the opening of the forum, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaeies Jhinaoui emphasized that Islam and democracy are compatible, and touched on the importance of considering "the specificity of each society in construction of new democracies."
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting that delegates from the participating countries have been discussing the value of homegrown democracies.
"We asked [ourselves] if democracy is a 'one fits all' system, and the answer is 'no,'" she said, adding that since "democracy starts at home," education and women's empowerment are particularly important for the process.
Established in 2008, BDF is an inclusive and open intergovernmental forum on democratic developments in the Asia Pacific region, aimed at promoting and fostering regional and international cooperation for peace and democracy.