Summit for Democracy offers chance to ‘rethink’ democratic systems


Contemporary authoritarianism is an existential test for democratic societies and the upcoming US-led Summit for Democracy offers an opportunity to rethink’ democratic systems, says the Club of Madrid, the forum of former Heads of State and Government, and a member of the Summit’s civil society working group on authoritarianism.

Democratic states and the international community must be more proactive in countering democratic backsliding and should act sooner at signs of concentration of power, erosion of the rule of law, attempts to undermine the judiciary, attacks on media and civil society organizations, among other authoritarian practices, it states in the conclusion to ‘Rethinking Democracy’, its Annual Policy Dialogue 2021.

The Dialogue’s Concluding Document ‘Club de Madrid’s Commitment to Democracy’ offers several actionable proposals to ‘rethink’ democratic systems. Responding to democratic backsliding before it is too late requires:

  • early warning mechanisms followed by decisive action;
  • an international peer-review mechanism on democratic practice;
  • proposals for establishing an International Anti-Corruption Court*; and
  • the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur for Democracy.

As democracy requires a culture based on principles and values, the Club calls for mechanisms to build citizens’ capacity to engage in policymaking, particularly youth´s engagement in politics, including young women and girls, and the promotion of intergenerational dialogue. RTWT

How do we renew democracy in a pandemic era? asks International IDEA. Its Global State of Democracy ‘s report is published later this month.

A new initiative aims to provides policy advice, an investment vehicle and a technology development platform to help cultivate democratic resilience against digital authoritarianism.

Created in the spirit of the Atlantic Charter and the recent AUKUS partnership, the Digital Atlantic Charter will support democracies’ efforts to protect and ensure the resilience of critical infrastructure.

“Democracies are being challenged [and] digital repression can only be overcome through investment and innovation across security, military and technology sectors,” said Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. RTWT

The evolving relationships of digital technologies, information integrity, and democracy are the focus of Digital Directions, a new newsletter from the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy that examines authoritarian manipulation and democratic resilience in the digital domain.

*On September 14, 2021, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Transparency International’s US Office (TI) hosted a virtual global panel on anti-corruption with legislators, government officials and experts (below). The upcoming Summit for Democracy offers opportunities for parliaments to advance anti-corruption agendas, the panel heard, which discussed lessons for the design and implementation of Summit commitments.

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