Celebrating International Day of Democracy 2020

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Celebrating International Day of Democracy 2020

September 15th, 2020

A strong, healthy democracy needs constant care and attention, even in good times. During a crisis we need to be even more vigilant. The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt democracy, amid a long-term trend of democratic decline.

However, we know that democracy is key to solving the major challenges facing the world in 2020.

Democracy can build the coalitions needed to solve the climate crisis. Democracy can create stronger health systems so more people can survive viruses like COVID-19. Democracy can address the calls for social justice expressed in movements like Black Lives Matter. Democracy can make countries safer and more stable so they can grow their economies.

Today, we celebrate democracy and all those who nurture and protect it – those who help make sure it’s democracy day every day.

Happy International Day of Democracy!

 

“On International Day of Democracy, we celebrate democracy and all those who nurture and protect it.

Democracy is at the heart of addressing the defining challenges of our time – climate change, global health, economic recovery and growth, poverty reduction and social justice. To achieve these, we need inclusive and accountable democracy.

But a strong, healthy democracy needs constant care and attention, even in good times. During a crisis we need to be even more vigilant.

This International Day of Democracy comes at the end of a summer of discontent for democracy. The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt democracy amid a long-term downward trend in democratic governance. Its recovery must begin now.

As the new FCDO charts its course, putting democracy and rights at the heart of the its work will ensure the UK continues to promote its interests and its values abroad – and meets its aim to be a force for good.”

Anthony Smith, CEO of WFD

 

WFD supports democracies to respond to COVID-19

WFD supports parliaments, political parties and civil society organisations, as they care for their democracies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From supporting MPs in Nepal to asses old laws being used to respond to a new virus, to working with East African youth as they make their voices heard in debates about building back better.

Over the last year, we supported democracy in many different ways:

  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, and Nepal, we have worked with women parliamentarians and councillors to hone their leadership skills and support them as they prepare for elections.
  • In Sudan, we provided women political leaders with negotiation training to strengthen their role in the peace process.
  • We have made sure that the needs of persons with disabilities are properly taken into account in political decision making, by supporting new laws which ensure persons with disabilities in three Kenyan counties have the same rights and access as other members of society; training new MPs in Sierra Leone on disability inclusion; and facilitating the President of Mozambique’s commitment to new laws, policies and strategies to improve inclusion.
  • Through our Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy programme WFD worked with young people to ensure they are included in political decision making. One example is in Ghana, where we trained 3,000 student leaders on parliamentary ethics.
  • In the Western Balkans, we launched the Human Rights and Gender Network (HUGEN) to enable parliaments to better promote gender equality in politics and across society and enshrine international standards of human rights in law through sharing lessons and experiences.
  • WFD continued to support the Arab League and the Coalition of Women MPs from Arab Countries in drafting the first ever regional agreement to tackle gender-based violence.
  • In Lebanon, we also assisted a parliamentary committee in amending the Lebanese Penal Code to criminalise sexual harassment and extend the definition of rape – this will serve to reduce the impunity of perpetrators of violence against women.

These are just some of the ways which we supported democracy and there are many other examples.

Every day, our in-house experts are sharing their knowledge on issues such as how to hold elections during a pandemic or how parliaments can best perform virtually.

Our research gets to the bottom of critical aspects of a recovery, such as the need for institutions to build political trust, or how women’s political leadership leads to better outcomes for everyone.

And we monitor the quality of democratic responses to COVID-19 through our #PanDemTracker.

Thanks for supporting us – and supporting democracy – today and everyday.

Happy International Day of Democracy!

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