Democracy is a recognized international goal in its own right. In the Millennium Declaration, UN Member States commit to spare no effort to promote democracy. Supporting democracy around the world is a cornerstone of the foreign and development policies of many donor countries.

Yet democracy support remains a low priority within most international development aid budgets—legislatures and political parties, for example, receive less than one per cent of total development aid. Not only is support for democratic political institutions far down the agenda of development aid, it can also be argued that development aid often undermines democracy by weakening or bypassing a country’s national political institutions, such as parliaments.

International IDEA has engaged in various processes to emphasize the importance of democracy support within development assistance. It advocates including democracy in the framework of the Post-2015 UN Millennium Goals. This Policy Brief focuses on support to democracy within international development aid, drawing its recommendations from a more extended book, entitledAnchor Development First, Democracy Later?


Publication date
18 February 2014
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Democracy within international development aid

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