The Global State of Democracy 2021: Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era

| Dec 01, 2021

This report by IDEA shows how more countries than ever are suffering from a decline in democratic quality, including in established democracies. More than a quarter of the world's population now live in democratically backsliding countries. The pandemic has preyed more on weaker democracies and fragile states while political systems with strong rule of law and separation of powers have proved more resilient. Read more here.

"Democracy is at risk. Its survival is endangered by a perfect storm of threats, both from within and from a rising tide of authoritarianism. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated these threats through the imposition of states of emergency, the spread of disinformation, and crackdowns on independent media and freedom of expression.

The Global State of Democracy 2021 shows that more countries than ever are suffering from ‘democratic erosion’ (decline in democratic quality), including in established democracies. The number of countries undergoing ‘democratic backsliding’ (a more severe and deliberate kind of democratic erosion) has never been as high as in the last decade, and includes regional geopolitical and economic powers such as Brazil, India and the United States."

More than a quarter of the world’s population now live in democratically backsliding countries. Together with those living in outright non-democratic regimes, they make up more than two-thirds of the world’s population.

Fully fledged authoritarian regimes are also growing in number, and their leaders are acting ever more brazenly. The pandemic provides additional tools and justification for repressive tactics and silencing of dissent in countries as diverse as Belarus, Cuba, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Venezuela. These regimes are buoyed by a lack of sufficient geopolitical pressures and support from other autocratic powers. Some of them thrive on the narrative that authoritarian governance is more effective for economic prosperity and pandemic management.

Worryingly, many democratically elected governments are also adopting time-honoured authoritarian tactics, often with popular support. The pandemic has made it easier to justify this behaviour, including the politicization of judiciaries, the manipulation of media, restrictions on civil liberties and minority rights, and the weakening of civil society..."

View the resource here.