International IDEA made a statement during the Second Thematic Consultation of the UN Secretary-General's Report "Our Common Agenda". This Thematic Consultation was under the theme of Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals Through Sustainable Financing and Building Trust.
Building trust is no easy task. Achieving trust requires multi-stakeholder efforts, the inclusion of all voices and the representation of all groups, along with solving the deep-rooted issues—from systemic inequality to corruption—that have fueled mistrust in the first place. There is no better tool to achieve this than democracy.
International IDEA’s definition of democracy is compatible with the spirit of Commitments #4 and #6 on strengthening the rule of law and building trust by listening to and consulting with people. Our definition of democracy is simple, yet profound: “popular control over decision-making (and decision-makers) and equality in the exercise of that control.” Democracy is not reduced to regular free and fair elections. It is spread along several key aspects of governance. These include fundamental rights, the controls to which authorities are subject to and the right to a meaningful and equal political participation of all groups and members of society.
This enables people to lead the lives they value, to be actively engaged in civic spaces, to shape key decisions about their societies and—as a consequence—to trust government and its institutions.
International IDEA is the only intergovernmental organization with a sole mandate to promote democracy. Through its priority programmatic areas of supporting elections and constitution building, International IDEA strengthens political representation, public accountability and constitutional values which provide the foundations for the social contract.
In line with this, International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Report 2021 advances a three-point agenda based on delivery, rebuilding and prevention. 'Deliver’ calls government institutions, in close consultation with civil society, to recraft social contracts. These contracts should be the result of inclusive societal deliberation. ‘Rebuild’ proposes the reform of democratic institutions, processes, relationships, and behaviours to better cope with the challenges of the 21st century and emphasises the (re)building of mutual trust between citizens and their representatives. 'Prevent’, calls for investing in democracy education by buttressing democracy’s pillars that ensure accountability, including broad participation and access to information.
Our Common Agenda indicates that at this inflection point in history, humanity faces the stark and urgent choice of breakdown or breakthrough. There is no better way to achieve breakthrough than by listening to the people and rebuilding the social contract. The most effective, inclusive and sustainable means to do this is through democratic institutions, processes, and values.
I thank you.
The full video of this statement can be seen here: Thematic Consultation 2
The full written statement can be seen here: Written Statement