Centre for Policy Alternatives on 11 December, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Despite growing challenges to democracy, data reveals that globally democracy is not in decline, according to new International IDEA publication.

Categories: Documents

11th December 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka –The world has experienced continued and steep democratic progress, however this progress has slowed down over the past decade.  Challenges and threats have emerged in specific countries and regions, according to the first edition of The Global State of Democracy publication from The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). Now, democracy is at a crossroads and continuous actions must be taken to safeguard and protect it.

International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy publication, based on the new Global State of Democracy indices, highlights that almost all aspects of democracy have advanced over the past four decades. Most electoral democracies established in this period survived, and the number and proportion of countries holding elections have increased. Governments are now more representative of (and responsive to) their constituencies, more countries respect the fundamental rights of their citizens, and social rights and equality feature sharp improvements. More importantly, governments are more constrained by checks from parliaments, the judiciary and the media. In addition, according to International IDEA’s analysis, the value people give to democracy is strengthened when democratic backsliding occurs. The most difficult aspects for democracies to tackle are corruption and rule of law, which have not improved since 1975.

The first edition of The Global State of Democracy publication analyses and assesses emerging challenges and threats. It is based on a new set of indices that collect data on key attributes of democracy across 155 countries from 1975 to 2015. The starting point of 1975 coincides with the ratification of the United Nations Conventions on Civil and Political Rights as well as Economic and Social Rights and the so-called ‘Third Wave of Democracy’. Zooming-in on some of the most pressing crises for democracy today, the publication provides insights into the future of political parties and representation, corruption and money in politics, inequality, migration, and post-conflict peacebuilding. The publication provides actionable recommendations for citizens, politicians and technocrats worldwide in their efforts to combat these threats.

“We see the challenges to our democracy in our daily news. There are cases of national leaders attempting to retain power beyond constitutional limits, attacks on human rights, and the rollback of civil liberties and freedom of the press”, said Yves Leterme, International IDEA Secretary-General.  “International IDEA is concerned about the rise of challenges to democracy. Our role—every citizen’s role—is to protect democracy.”

A regional launch of The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience will be held at the Asia-Pacific Conference on Resilience of Democracy: “21st Century Solutions for 21st Century Challenges to Democracy”, organised at   Mövenpick Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13-14 December 2017. The conference brings together policymakers, experts, academics, civil society groups and young professionals from across the Asia-Pacific region to discuss innovative, actionable solutions to the challenges of democracy as identified in the Global State of Democracy publication.

The conference will focus on three themes: 1) democracy’s resilience to backsliding, 2) influence of money in politics, corruption, and 3) inclusive peacebuilding in conflict-affected states. A special panel session composed of high-level officials and experts highlights the second day of the conference bringing state of democracy in Sri Lanka on focus as well.

The regional launch is organized by International IDEA, the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA),and Democracy Reporting International (DRI)

The publication is available in English, both in print and online. An overview of the publication will be available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic. Explore the publication’s website and the indices to learn more about the quality of democracy, comparing countries and regions.


The Global State of Democracy publication
The Global State of Democracy is a biennial publication analysing and assessing the state of democracy around the world based on data from the Global State of Democracyindices. The publication includes an overview of global and regional democracy trends and developments, current challenges and crises, as well as evidence-based and actionable recommendations for policy makers and democracy practitioners worldwide.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance 
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. International IDEA’s mission is to support sustainable democratic change by providing comparative knowledge, and assisting in democratic reform, and influencing policies and politics. International IDEA produces comparative knowledge in its key areas of expertise: electoral processes, constitution-building, and political participation and representation, as well as democracy as it relates to gender, diversity, and conflict and security. For more information, visit www.idea.int
Media Contact: Raul Cordenillo, [email protected], Tel: +46 8 698 37 75

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) 
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. The primary role envisaged for the Centre in the field of public policy is a pro-active and interventionary one, aimed at the dissemination and advocacy of policy alternatives for non-violent conflict resolution and democratic governance. Accordingly, the work of the Centre involves a major research component through which the policy alternatives advocated are identified and developed.
Media Contact: Amalini De Sayrah, [email protected], Tel: +94 775090087

Programme Contact: Nathalie Ebead, [email protected]