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Democracy, as a system of government, is ever evolving. However, democratic freedoms have been downsliding worldwide for the past sixteen years. In 2021, the Freedom House reported that twice as many countries lost civil liberties and freedoms compared to those that improved them. According to the Economist's Democracy Index 2021 less than half, or 45.7% of the world's population now live in a democracy of some sort, a decline from 2020 where the figure was 49.4%
Anti-democratic forces are on the march globally. From the storming of the capital in the US through the racist speech of Hungary’s leader echoing Nazi rhetoric, Poland’s judiciary under attack, democratic institutions under siege in Brazil, to the actual and potential aggression of dictatorships such as China and Russia, democratic institutions, the rule of law, credible elections, human rights, and independent media are under a concerted siege all over the world. The war in Ukraine has brought the battle between democracy and autocracy into an even sharper focus. Trust in democratic politicians and institutions are at an all-time low, hobbling the ability of democracies to defend themselves against the enthusiasm of nationalist-populists. All the while autocrats around the world increasingly aid and abet each other, forming a global cabal, and exchanging best practices on repression and corruption. Our freedom and very way of life is under threat. The task that falls on us is no less than to turn the tide against national populism and autocratic regimes. We believe the antidote lies in activating our citizens. Our publics are frustrated about democratic delivery deficit at home, but still support defending it abroad as they understand the deeply intertwined world we live in. How Brazil’s democracy goes will have repercussions for German and Italian democrats and vice versa. But our political leaders - while many are well intentioned - and our institutions - weakened and increasingly untrusted - will be insufficient by themselves. Citizen activism rooted in solidarity and straddling borders is needed to create momentum, generate political support and prompt action. Simply put: we who care deeply about democracy need to unite!
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We work to empower people to become active citizens in their democracies. Our work is around three pillars:
We advocate for critical policies in key capitals to mobilize support for pro-democracy actors, and constrain anti-democracy actors in their ability to erode democratic institutions.
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