International IDEA: Launch of “The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience”

AGORA moderator's picture

Last week, International IDEA launched its new flagship publication The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience in a series of events across the globe. The report comes at a time of widespread concern about the future of democracy and the erosion of democratic values, and it addresses such concerns by tracing the progress of democracy across a range of indices between 1975 and 2015. 
 
The publication explores the enabling conditions for democratic resilience, defined as “the ability of a social system, and actors within it, to cope with, innovate, survive and recover from complex challenges and crises present stress or pressure that can lead to systemic failure”. It finds that while there are instances of recent democratic backslidings, democracy has been steadily on the rise since 1975. 
  
Democratic resilience and parliaments
IDEA identifies five conditions for democratic resilience: representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration, and participatory engagement. Parliament is a crucial actor in increasing democratic resilience, in particular through its ability to act as ‘check and balance’ on government, but it can also strengthen democracy through their participation across all factors of resilience. The conditions outlined in the report align with the Sustainable Development Goal 16—of which parliament is a natural and necessary implementation partner—and thus reassert the importance of free and just institutions for democratic resilience. 
 
For the full report in English: http://bit.ly/2Au0uZH
For the overview in English: http://bit.ly/2Aoj8j0 in French: http://bit.ly/2BAgDKC 
Global State of Democracy Indices Website: http://bit.ly/2BAgDKC
 
Overview of “The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience”
“This Overview examines the global state of democracy and the challenges to democracies posed by today’s political landscape. It is a condensed version of The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience, which explores key current challenges to democracy and the enabling conditions for its resilience.
 
The contemporary political landscape poses complex global challenges to democracies. The landscape is, shaped by globalization, geopolitical power shifts, changing roles and structures of (supra)national organizations and institutions, and the rise in modern communications technologies. Transnational phenomena such as migration and climate change influence the dynamics of conflict and development, citizenship and state sovereignty. Rising inequalities, and the social polarization and exclusion they generate, skew political representation and voice, reducing the vital moderate centre of the electorate.
 
Democracy is increasingly challenged from within, for instance by political leaders unwilling to respect election results or hand over power peacefully. This can lead to democratic backsliding. Voter apathy and distrust of traditional political institutions—particularly political parties and politicians—have led citizens to seek alternative paths of political dialogue and engagement, supported by new technologies. Big money in politics, and its ability to capture the state and facilitate corruption, undermines the integrity of political systems. Countries in democratic transition and those affected by conflict are particularly vulnerable in their efforts to create stable democratic societies. These dynamics have contributed to a widely contested view that democracy is in decline.”