Article/ working letter
Kathmandu Declaration on the Future of Social Democracy

Kathmandu Declaration on the Future of Social Democracy


B P Chintan Pratisthan ( B P Thought Academy) has organized two-day International Conference on “The Future of Social Democracy” in Kathmandu on June 14-15, 2014 to mark the birth centenary of BP Koirala, the first elected Prime Minister of Nepal and social democratic thinker of international appeal. Willy Brandt of Germany, Olav Palme of Sweden and  Brunio Crisky of Austria were his close friends in Europe while in Asia Jaya Prakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohiya and Aung Sung , the father of Aung San Suu Kyi, were close allies for democratic struggle.

The conference was attended by Burma’s democratic icon and leader of opposition party National League for democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, General –Secretary of Socialist International Luis Ayala, very distinguished Prof.  Dr. Thomas Meyer, Representative of Progressive Alliance, Dr. Klaus Julian Voll, coordinator of the Network of Social Democracy in Asia (SOCDEM) Marie Chris Cabreros, Prof. Anand Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Bijaya Pratap, Chairman of South Asia Dialogue on Ecological Democracy and Suresh Bhaduriya of Bahujan Samajbadi Party of India  addressed the conference. The conference also included delegates from Chile, Germany, Myanmar, Philippines, India, Belgium, Nepal among others. Shree Sushil Koirala, Rt. Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal inaugurated the conference. The keynote Speech was delivered by Daw Aung Sun Sung Kyi, Nobel Laureate in Peace while solidarity messages were delivered by Sher Bahadur Deuba, Former Prime Minister of Nepal and leader of Nepali Congress, Jhalanath Khanal, Former Prime Minister of Nepal and Chairman of CPN-UML, Biijaya Kumar Gachhadhar, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Democratic) and Haribol Bhattarai, Chairman of BP Thought Academy. Over 1,200 participants from various political parties and other walks of life attended the inaugural function and party leaders from various parties, academics, civil society attended the two-day intensive discussions.

The conference adopted following 12-point agenda:

  • It has realized and come to the conclusion that neo-liberal economic ideas of development which dominated the world since 1980 are now a spent force. The global financial market crisis of 2008 and situation thereafter has confirmed this.  The conference agreed that “THE SOCIAL DEMOCRCY IS THE WAVE OF FUTURE” and it has been proven by the test of the time.
  • It has agreed that civil and political rights such as freedom of speech and expression, freedom to participate in free and fair election and freedom to form political organizations are the pre-requisite and essential elements of Social Democracy.
  • Social democracy believes in the equality of economic chances. It is agreed that education, health and basic needs including other social security are the rights – all the people irrespective of their purchasing power should be provided.
  • The state should be linked to the everyday life of the people. It should also be socially inclusive to cover all the people without prejudice of gender, caste, creed, ethnicity etc.
  • The conception of government should be broadened to cover the mobilization of social and civil society groups and interests of all sections of society thereby providing them voice in politics, law and policy making.
  • The social responsibility of the corporate sector should be delineated to beef up social solidarity, comprehensive reconciliation and sustainable peace.

·         Market should be framed, regulated, corrected and guided in the interest of public welfare and social inclusion. Social democracy through the regulated market process attains economic stability and avoids the problem of market crisis.

  • The political culture of compromise in political parties, trade unions, civil society, middle classes and intelligentsia in line with democratic sprit is essential factors for the success of social democracy.
  • “Multiculturism” should be accepted by the state and recognition of all the communities should be the part of broader political culture – a culture that supports political pluralism, tolerates constructive views and opposes fundamentalism.
  • Globalization, environment, climate and cultural issues should be addressed through cooperative means by building the architecture of multi-level governance to create just order.
  •  The essential dimension of development is the enhanced spirit of human being which can be attained through social democracy.
  • Rapid participatory growth with distributional equity should be   the ultimate goal of Social Democracy as an endeavour to establish Social Welfare State.

Kathmandu, July 10,  2014