The value, viability and future of democracy are more contested now than ever before in modern history. While the past four decades have seen a remarkable expansion of democracy throughout all regions of the world, recent years have been marked by declines in the fabric of both older and younger democracies. The idea of democracy continues to mobilize people around the world, but the practice of existing democracies has disappointed and disillusioned many citizens and democracy advocates.
Democratic erosion is occurring in different settings and contexts. New democracies are often weak and fragile. Older democracies are struggling to guarantee equitable and sustainable economic and social development. The share of high-quality democracies is decreasing and many of them are confronted with populist challengers.
At the same time, democratic transitions occur in political regimes that seemed staunchly undemocratic and popular democratic aspirations continue to be expressed and defended around the world. Despite the challenges, democracy has proven resilient. Democracies have also shown, with some exceptions, to provide better conditions for sustainable development.
International IDEA’s report The Global State of Democracy 2019: Addressing the Ills, Reviving the Promise provides a health check of democracy and an overview of the current global and regional democracy landscape. It analyses the encouraging democratic trends as well as the key current challenges to democracy. The Report draws on data from the Global State of Democracy (GSoD) indices and lessons learned from International IDEA’s on-the ground technical assistance to understand the current democracy landscape. It aims at informing strategies, programmes and policy interventions in support of democracy.