Democratization - Fundamental for effective aid
Active participation by citizens in the political life of their countries is a major Swiss development cooperation issue, and the democratization initiatives at the heart of the SDC's work are based on strengthening civil society as well as fostering room for dialogue and consultation between it and the public authorities.
|•||According to 2006 figures, there have been 77 democracies since the early 1990s.|
|•||Thirty-four countries still have autocratic regimes.|
|•||Since the beginning of the 21st century, anocracies – a chaotic combination of democratic and autocratic elements – have gained considerable power.|
|•||Forty-nine countries currently live under anocratic regimes which mean they are most vulnerable to political instability, armed conflict, terrorist attacks and international crises.|
Democratization entails grass-roots participation in exercising power and government accountability to those governed. For cooperation agencies, this democratization takes the form of establishing democratic institutions and practices in order to entrench democratic values in society.
A first step in this direction is the holding of free, fair and multi-party elections, followed by the institution of an effective legislative assembly acting within a constitutional framework, with established procedures and under the guidance of competent legislators. Then come free media, in other words independent sources of information that offer a critical take on government actions.
The SDC focus: Governance – A cross-cutting themeThe SDC backs projects that strengthen civil society, the media and human rights, support elections and wider parliamentary powers. It develops room for grass-roots consultation and political dialogue, to encourage the emergence of a democratic culture rooted in rural areas and at municipal level. The SDC is therefore particularly active in championing decentralization processes that reinforce the autonomy and legitimacy of local authorities – a legitimacy based on mechanisms for consultation and dialogue between elected representatives and their fellow citizens.
"Governance", a cross-cutting SDC theme present in all its activities, covers cementing the role of citizens and developing room for "local democracy". Governance generally aims at improving State-citizen relations and giving people better access to quality public services, the idea being that "good governance" is the best guarantee within any State for social peace and prosperity that lead to successful development measures.
Theme contact : Mona M’Bikay
Additional Information and DocumentsDocuments
- Challenging Common Assumptions on Corruption and Democratisation
Key Recommendations and Guiding Principles
Download (PDF, 801 KB) : [en]
- Afghanistan civil society Forum - Swiss Supported watchdog for a better future
Asia Brief - July 2009
Download (PDF, 480 KB) : [en]
- Forum Process
Download : [en]
Articles and Press releases
- Between a rock and a hard place: media in Afghanistan
- Switzerland supporting the organisation of elections in Burkina Faso