Democratic resilience initiative – a strategic imperative


Democratic resilience is increasingly invoked by policymakers as an aspect of foreign and security strategies, and as an aim of internally strengthening democratic practices, amid changing threat environments, researchers suggest.

On March 24, the Biden administration announced the launch of the European Democratic Resilience Initiative (EDRI) to advance democratic resilience, boost anti-corruption initiatives, and defend human rights in Ukraine and its neighborhood in light of Russia’s war of aggression. Up to $320 million in new EDRI funding will complement the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal announced at the December 2021 Summit for Democracy. It will also aid efforts to counter Kremlin kleptocracy through the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) initiative and the U.S.-interagency Task Force KleptoCapture.

A new Fact Sheet provides information on the EDRI’s initial funding priorities and focus:

Urgent Needs:  The EDRI will prioritize support for immediate human rights priorities in Ukraine and its surrounding region….  Working with Congress, the State Department and USAID anticipate providing an initial $80 million of the overall EDRI funding amount to support the following urgent needs:

  • Advancing Accountability: To promote justice and accountability for atrocities committed by Russia’s forces in Ukraine, the EDRI will:
    • Provide expert support and capacity-building for the war crimes units under the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), assisting these offices in accomplishing their mandate of investigating and prosecuting war crimes and other serious international crimes….
    • Support Ukrainian civil society efforts to monitor and document violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses; and provide training for legal professionals and monitors on international human rights law; and training and support for media coverage of war crimes and atrocities
  • Defending Journalists, Civic Activists and At-Risk Groups: The EDRI will enhance the safety, security, and operational effectiveness of journalists, and pro-democracy, human rights, and anti-corruption activists inside and outside of Ukraine. The EDRI will specifically support:
    • Logistical and operational support to civil society activists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders who have been forced to flee their home country to help them remain engaged in their relevant work from abroad.
    • Core funding for Ukrainian national media outlets to maintain operations and continue support for sub-national media….READ THE REST

The Sharp Power and Democratic Resilience series from the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum contextualizes forms of sharp power, inventories key authoritarian efforts and domains, and illuminates ideas for non-governmental actions for reinforcing democratic resilience.

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