The main conclusions from the National Forum 2010
The main conclusions from the National Forum 2010 have now been presented. They are divided into eight separate themes and reflect what participants wish to see form the basis of Iceland's new constitution. themes:
The themes summary:
COUNTRY AND NATION - Values and related issues regarding the independence of the country, culture and its advantages such as vision, the value of the Icelandic language and the country's rural areas.
The constitution is a covenant which guarantees sovereignty and independence for Icelanders and is written for the people in the country. The role of the constitution is to guard the Icelandic language, its culture and the nation's resources. It should be introduced in schools and it must be guaranteed that the public can have a say in decisions regarding national affairs. The image of Iceland shall be strengthened, multiculturalism encouraged as well as separation between state and religion.
MORALITY - General moral values without special connection with government or politics such as honesty, respect, responsibility, tolerance, justice and sympathy.
The constitution shall be based on moral values. The morality theme of the new constitution shall be respect for humans, freedom of speech and consideration. An emphasis shall be on the honesty of elected representatives, public officials, laws and legal ethics. To strengthen and improve the morality of the nation, ethics should be taught in the country's schools and the social responsibility of the public must be increased. In Iceland a clear framework must be set up by which the authorities must work, focusing on respect, responsibility and duties towards the country's people.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Values that are the basis or go hand in hand with accepted human rights such as equality, freedom of speech, education, religious freedom and right of ownership.
Everyone shall enjoy human rights according to international covenants on human rights that Iceland has promised to honour, such as freedom of speech, personal privacy, religious freedom and the right of ownership. Equality shall be guaranteed by law regardless of gender, religion, nationality, race, residence and sexual orientation. Everyone shall have the same opportunity for education, health care and minimum essentials of living. Each vote shall have equal value.
JUSTICE, WELLBEING AND EQUALITY - Values and related issues regarding general justice, wellbeing and equality in relation to education, health and essentials of living etc.
All persons in the country shall be guaranteed a decent livelihood regardless of gender, race, age, residence, work, nationality, religious belief, financial situation, handicap, sexual orientation or opinions. Everyone shall have equal right to minimum essentials of living, education, health care and social service. Everyone shall have rights to pension benefits. The value of votes shall be equal and the penal code clear.
THE NATURE OF ICELAND, CONSERVATION AND UTILISATION - Values and related issues regarding the environment, including natural resources, such as conservation of the environment and public property.
The nature and the country's natural resources are unassignable public properties that must be protected, used and utilised sustainably in such a way that public access is guaranteed. Clear laws must be enacted regarding the nation's ownership and utilisation rights of natural resources, nature and biosphere. Icelandic nature and resources must be protected to the benefit of future generations.
DEMOCRACY - Values and related issues of any kind relating to the nation's participation in governing the country, such as referendum and voting rights. Also values related to prerequisites for democracy, such as communication of information. Iceland's democracy shall be active and transparent. The value of votes shall be equal in one constituency, elections of individual candidates, limited time of membership of parliament and fewer members of parliament. The democracy shall be based on the triple division of power and clear laws on referendum in important issues. The appointment of judges shall be reconsidered, only voters with equal voting value can amend the constitution.
DIVISION OF POWER, RESPONSIBILITY AND TRANSPARENCY - Values and related issues regarding general development of the state and the use of state authority such as division of power, transparency and stability. Also values (and related issues) regarding the work of individual institutions and the holders of state authority and their responsibility. The triple division of power must be guaranteed where the role and responsibility of the authorities is clear. Ministers shall not serve as members of parliament along with their ministry post. The constitution should guarantee transparency and supervision of the country's administration. Professional methods shall be used when recruiting people for the administrational positions. The power of the President of Iceland shall be reconsidered and a decision shall be made regarding his veto. There should be a time limit to the membership of parliament. The independence of the courts shall be guaranteed.
PEACE AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION - Values and related issues regarding Iceland's position in the international community, such as security, peace and impartiality. Iceland shall be an independent and sovereign state which emphasises cooperation with other nations, especially in northern regions. Iceland shall be an advocate of peace and shall engage in international cooperation with that purpose. The security of the country shall be guaranteed. Iceland shall participate in cooperation in protecting nature, self-sustaining use of natural resources, protection of human rights and development aid. Iceland shall be without an army and free of nuclear arms.
Participants at the National Forum placed strong emphasis on honesty and integrity, particularly in the public sector and among public officials. They wished to see ethics and morality become a more integral part of Icelandic society, via various channels such as introducing morality and ethics into education at an early age. Participants also wished to see a separation between religion and state. Human rights also featured strongly in the Forum results, as well as equal access to health care and education. Participants wish to see Iceland participate in international cooperation and be an advocate of peace, including being a military- and nuclear-free zone. There was a strong call for protection of Iceland's nature and for clear laws and regulations to be set to ensure that Iceland's natural resources remain under Icelandic control. Moreover, participants wish for democracy to be a strong force in Icelandic society and to be based on principles such as the clear separation of power and transparency.
The full results will be submitted as guidelines reflecting the views of the Icelandic public to representatives elected to undertake the constitutional review next spring.