Renewing representation: The role of international assistance in supporting democratic revitalisation

Research reports and studies
September 2018

On 18-20 June 2018, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) supported a conference on populism in partnership with: International IDEA, Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy (NIMD), OSCE/ODIHR and REPRESENT.

The event, held in the Belgian Senate, saw leaders from politics, civil society and academia from across the world gather to shape a “Global Agenda for the Renewal of Representation”, a guide aimed at reinvigorating the relationship between people and democracy. Alina Rocha Menocal and Pilar Domingo from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) reflect on how WFD and the broader democracy assistance community can think, learn, and adapt better to contribute to revitalising liberal, representative democracy around the world.

Most countries across the world today are democracies. However, we are at a juncture where the stability and resilience of democracy has come into question, not just in developing settings but also in some of the world’s oldest and most established democracies. Engaging with emerging democracies so that they can work more effectively is the new frontier of the developmental challenge. Deepening the quality of democratic governance is messy, complex, and uncertain. More in-depth thinking about how to reconceptualise and reinvigorate democracy support so that it has greater traction and relevance is needed.