Global threats to democracy have recently been compounded by multiple complex and overlapping crises, including climate impact, violent conflicts, rising inflation, inequality and more. Democratic institutions are under significant pressure to respond to the polycrisis to ensure citizen needs are met, and to do so in ways that reinforce democratic systems of governance. As the representative institution of government, legislatures are central to whether democracies succeed in ensuring the needs and priorities of a nation’s citizens are addressed, and that outcomes are legitimate, sustainable, accountable and effective.
This report spotlights the role legislatures played in bolstering democracy during the Summits for Democracy - a U.S. government initiative that galvanized countries across the globe to create initiatives to strengthen democracy. The report was developed through the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), a bipartisan commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is co-implemented by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI). It draws on the experiences of HDP partners including the parliaments of Georgia, Kosovo, Liberia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as the experiences of Nepal, Paraguay, and Taiwan.
The report underscores the intricate role these legislatures played in fulfilling national democratic commitments that emanated from the first Summit. Drawing on key themes arising out of the second Summit, the report also sets out several recommendations aimed at empowering legislatures for the upcoming third summit, scheduled for 2024 in the Republic of Korea. As the world grapples with the precarious task of safeguarding democracy against an array of complex threats, parliaments are vital for ensuring commitments from this initiative are not simply delivered but experienced by citizens.