Marking 20 Years of Devolution

Published 21/03/2019   |   Last Updated 17/04/2023   |   Reading Time minutes

​The National Assembly for Wales has today (Thursday, March 21) announced a programme of events to mark 20 years since its establishment in 1999.

A range of events are to be held over the Summer months, culminating in a festival of democracy at the end of September which will see names from the arts, sport, journalism and politics gather in Cardiff Bay. The full programme will celebrate and debate achievements of the past twenty years but also focus on the future of Wales and engage people, groups and organisations across the country.

The 20 Years programme will kick off on May 6, exactly twenty years since the people of Wales went to the polls to vote in the first ever Assembly election. The Senedd will open its doors allowing the public to explore the Assembly's history, powers and ambitions through a range of public activities and events aimed at all ages. A new exhibition charting the history of devolution in Wales will be unveiled. 

The following day on May 7th, the Llywydd and First Minister will formally address the Assembly in the presence of members elected to the Assembly since 1999. Later that evening, previous and current Assembly Members will gather with a host of invitees representing national organisations to celebrate the occasion.

In June members of the newly formed Welsh Youth Parliament will sit with the full Assembly for an extraordinary joint session. In July a Citizens Assembly, made up from representative members of the public, will gather together in mid Wales to consider the main challenges facing Wales in the next twenty years.

Over the Summer months the National Assembly will host events on a range of devolved issues with partners in communities across Wales including the Royal Welsh Show and National Eisteddfod.  A photographic exhibition jointly curated by Ffotogallery and the National Assembly will tour Wales from September onwards. It will feature work by 6 photographers exploring the hopes and aspirations for a future Wales.

20 Years of Devolution celebrations will culminate in the first ever democracy festival to be held at Cardiff Bay in September. Over four days the Senedd and the Assembly's Pierhead buildings will host a mix of events with daytime talks, exhibitions and debates alongside evening music and comedy gigs. Much of the programme is being produced in partnership with national organisations such as Hay Festival, BAFTA Cymru, Football Association of Wales, Machynlleth Comedy Festival, Sport Wales, Future Generations Commissioner and Wales' universities.

"This anniversary presents a unique opportunity to reflect on how much Wales has changed over the past twenty years and the impact that devolution has had on our lives", ​said Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales. 

"In doing so we also have the chance to focus on the future. Through this programme of events our aim is to begin a new dialogue with people across the country about their ambitions for Wales and how the Assembly, the home of Welsh democracy, can help deliver that".

Further information on each of the projects, the partners and how members of the public can participate will be announced in due course. Please follow our social media channels for up to date information.