Robust democratic governance can counter resurgent autocrats, 29 governments say


Democratic solidarity is an urgent imperative at a time of growing collaboration between the world’s autocratic and illiberal forces, according to a statement released by 29 governments today.

Democracies must join forces to counter authoritarianism, disinformation, and political polarization as well as infringements to civil liberties accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, said the signatories – members of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), whose latest Global State of Democracy Report highlights the authoritarian resurgence.

“The challenges to democracy are multi-fold and far-reaching. Moreover, they are not confined to a given region or any specific type of democracy. They are global in nature and, therefore, call for a global response,” said the statement, issued to mark this week’s virtual Summit for Democracy. “Therefore, democratic practice should be the cornerstone of global decision-making process.”

The signatory governments commit to protecting and advancing democracy domestically and globally by:

Investing in the quality of public institutions, enhancing state capacities to deliver public goods and services to their population, and combating corruption in order to contribute to inclusive and accountable post-pandemic recovery.

Strengthening the rule of law through independent, impartial and competent people-centred judiciaries, checks and balances, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly freedoms of the press, expression and assembly.

Promoting independent democratic institutions, especially the pluralism of party systems and political voices, the integrity and legitimacy of elections, and informed political debates free from disinformation, including in digital spaces and online platforms.

Embracing democratic practices, by exploring institutional innovations, highlighting local solutions, supporting civic actors, free and independent media and human rights defenders, and including more young people, women and disadvantaged groups in the political process.

Building new equitable, inclusive, transparent and sustainable social contracts, advancing gender and racial equality, so that human rights are enjoyed by all, no one is left behind and trust is strengthened.

“This is about more than safeguarding abstract principles or winning geopolitical battles—it is about protecting the dignity of human beings, which democracy does better than any other political arrangement,” says Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General of International IDEA. “Concerted, global actions by national and multilateral actors are needed more than ever.”

With the Summit for Democracy looming on 9-10 December, Tom Gerald Daly @DemocracyTalk will “sum it up” in a video miniseries looking at the key issues, challenges, and players (see below). 

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