World Forum for Democracy 2020: Call for Initiatives

Deadline: 30 June 2020
Open to: any public or private organisation
Venue: 16-18 November 2020, Strasbourg, France


The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for global dialogue and democratic participation which brings new ideas into the work of the Council of Europe and promotes its principles across the world. A unique event of its kind, it deals with challenges facing democracy, taking innovative initiatives and practices as a starting point and fostering constructive debate to find solutions. A democratic exercise, the Forum aims at giving the people – demos – their rightful place in political decision-making. It thus contributes to the evolution of democracy towards more participatory and inclusive structures and institutions.

Our societies have been tested by an extreme and unexpected global challenge in 2020, but while an essential battle is fought against the Covid-19 pandemic, humanity’s greatest existential threat looms ever larger. Environmental damage and climate change have not gone away. The poisoning of our land and pollution in our air and water is still killing plants, animals and humans alike. Rising temperatures and sea levels are on course to render lands uninhabitable and force people to leave their homes and seek new lives.  The time to act is now. Yet recent polling indicates the highest ever recorded levels of dissatisfaction and mistrust with democracy as a system of government. Its response to a whole series of recent challenges – economic, pandemic, and indeed environmental – have disappointed millions of people. Many are questioning the capacity, competence and even legitimacy of democratic governance to address their greatest needs. The ambition of the 9th World Forum for Democracy is to propose and discuss differing answers to the question of what it really takes to get the job done when it comes to stopping and reversing the devastating damage done to our environment.

The 2020 World Forum for Democracy will debate the issues and generate new ideas for tackling the environmental crisis we face today. Plenary sessions will be an opportunity to discuss with speakers from all continents, including politicians, public and private officials, international organisations and civil society. Forum Talks will bring together relevant experts and academics that will share their experience and discuss how to improve the current situation. Forum Labs will allow participants to learn about ground-breaking initiatives that offer responses to the key questions above based on an analysis of their real impact and replicability. The initiatives should help us understand how democracy and democratic institutions and practices can help accelerate the fight against climate change.

The labs are the heart of the World Forum for Democracy. Their objective is to address specific issues through the critical analysis of tested initiatives. The initiatives will be presented in short speeches of ten minutes and critically assessed by multidisciplinary panels and participants in the labs. The key conclusions and lessons learnt from the labs will be discussed in a summing up session to prepare the overall conclusions of the Forum. The Forum participants will vote to choose the winner of the Democracy Innovation Award among the presented initiatives.

The World Forum for Democracy calls for expression of interests in presenting innovative initiatives aiming at solving environmental problems and enhancing democracy from all over the world.


Any public or private organization is eligible to apply.

Initiatives addressing topics including, but not limited to, are invited to apply:

  • Climate activism
  • Participatory practices for the environment
  • Defending the defenders of the environment
  • Local partnerships guiding behavior change within communities
  • Deliberative democracy and public policy
  • Environmental entrepreneurship
  • Global environmental justice
  • Public-private partnerships for environmental protection
  • Inequality and intersectionality facing climate change
  • Digitalization at the service of the environment
  • Innovations in youth activism, youth mobilization for the environment
  • Environmental education, training and awareness-raising
  • Use of new technologies to combat climate change
  • Protecting biodiversity, ecosystems
  • Sustainable development
  • Green lobbying


Travel and accommodation expenses may be covered by the Council of Europe if required.

* In case travel and large gatherings will not be possible in November 2020, the World Forum for Democracy may be held under a different format.

How to apply?

In order to apply, please click here.

For more information, please visit the official web page.