Newsletter N°25 - February 2022
War on democracy: It is now for us to act
By registering for and participating in the process leading up to the 2022 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, we can show our commitment to democracy at a time when the stakes could not be higher.
If there was still any doubt about the autocratic backlash in the world, Mr. Putin offers the most tragic and shocking proof: an open war on democracy. The Russian president’s decision to invade Ukraine is the most blatant break with the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law. And this happens after a pandemic that had weakened democracy in many ways already.
In the last two years, autocratic and illiberal regimes have undermined basic human rights and, in the cases of Russia and China, threatened their democratic neighbours. Democratic freedoms have come under attack at all levels of government. It’s become harder for citizens to hold elected officials accountable and make their voices heard. The networks and research organisations that measure the state of global democracy are offering their most grim assessments ever.
There is no time to waste for those of us who are committed to democracy. We must come together, renew collaborations and conversations put on hold during the pandemic, and invest our energy and resources in making our democracies more resilient—and more democratic.
The Global Forum will provide a setting for this renewal, and all the hard work that must accompany it.
This world conference on participatory and direct democracy - our 10th such forum since 2008 but our first since 2020 - will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland September 21st to 25th. It will be a huge opportunity to gather in person again, to strengthen our networks and to deepen our capacities in democratic development.
The Global Forum will acknowledge what has been lost in the past two years, but its focus will be on the future. We will discuss how we might enhance the democratic power of children and young people. We will look hard at the digital options and technological limits for democracy. We will examine how democracy can advance environmental imperatives and consider new strategies for establishing and extending democracy on the transnational level.
These two big goals — safeguarding democratic achievements in time of autocratic backsliding, and reforming democracy for future generations — can only be achieved when we come together, across borders and oceans to cooperate internationally. We need you there, whether you are a governmental or non-governmental player, a political professional or an activist, a journalist or a scholar, or a participant in local or national government.
You are now most welcome to register for the Global Forum in Lucerne and to make your necessary arrangements (including booking you into one of our attractive special accommodation offers). We know that many events have been rescheduled, so we want to be clear: this Global Forum is going forward, in person.
Please let us know how we may assist you as you make your plans to join us.
The Forum takes place in just 200 days. There is much hard work ahead; we need your help, for the sake of our democracies.
Joe Mathews and Bruno Kaufmann
Co-presidents and board members of Democracy International