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Kevin Casas-Zamora: Never before has there been such urgency for democracies to respond

November 30, 2022

"2022 has been the year of living dangerously. Democracies around the world face a multitude of crises - from Russia's war in Ukraine to a looming recession and the existential threat of climate change. It is a time when good democratic governance should be coveted, defended, embraced.

But the facts tell us a different story. International IDEA's Global State of Democracy 2022 Report does not make for pretty reading. It shows that the quality of democracy is declining in half of democracies around the world while the number of countries with the most severe form of democratic erosion - what we call backsliding - is at its peak.

The problems are widespread - the undermining of credible election results, increased restrictions on online freedoms, ever more brazen autocrats, pervasive corruption and the rise of extreme right parties.

Democracies are being subverted from the outside, but also, and fundamentally, eroded from within. We are all at risk of losing our hard-won freedoms and buying into the false promises of autocracy. No country is immune to these threats. Still, even in the face of ominous trends, there are rays of hope. People are not standing still - just think about the global youth activism on issues ranging from climate change to indigenous rights. Look at the protesters braving their lives to press for basic freedoms in Iran. Remember those opposing autocracy in Myanmar. The energy of civil society still shines brightly. But they can't fight this fight alone.

Never before has there been such urgency for democracies to respond, to show their citizens they forge new, innovative social contracts that bind together rather than divide people.

I urge you to read this report. It is our contribution to fostering transparency and debate while encouraging solutions that reinvigorate democracy. It is time to remember that democracy matters, that it's worth fighting for, that together we can do what's required to relaunch the democratic project and preserve it for the next generation."

Access the GlobalStateofDemocracy on YouTube.

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