The 2021 Summit for Democracy is a unique opportunity to remind us that democracy is “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
Yet 2020 was the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, as the world faced a perfect storm of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, increasing economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict.1 Seventy percent of the world’s population live in either outright non-democratic regimes or democratically backsliding countries, compared to only 46 percent ten years ago.2
At a time when many people talk of a crisis of democracy, it is more important than ever that democratic states work together to show global leadership and solidarity in defending and advancing democracy at home and abroad. The democracy support community is key to this process, particularly today when autocrats are increasingly exploiting democratic weaknesses in other countries to advance their interests.
Democracy assistance programs support inclusive and credible elections, strengthen the capacity of local civil society actors to uncover corruption and defend basic rights, increase transparency, and hold leaders accountable. They bolster independent media within countries, often helping to keep these independent media alive, enabling them to play a critical watchdog role in society. They support human rights defenders and activists so they can continue to operate and be heard in their societies. They ensure that the political participation of women, people with disabilities, young people, LGBTQI+ people, Indigenous Peoples,ethnic and religious minorities, and other underrepresented groups is key to democratic processes and resilience.
A group of pro-democracy institutions and organizations working globally to support human rights defenders, independent media, civil society, and democratic transformations agreed to address these Five Messages to leading democracies on the occasion of theSummit for Democracy. We believe these issues are of crucial importance for advancing democracy worldwide.
View and download the Five Messages for the Summit for Democracy, supported by International IDEA.