Democracy assistance in times of political polarisation

On 7 May 2020, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) presented first results of a study on German democracy assistance. The online event “Quo Vadis Democracy Assistance?” was hosted by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). To set the stage of the debate, Staffan I. Lindberg, director of the Varieties of Democracy Institute (University of Gothenburg) introduced global trends of increasing autocratisation. In the light of these trends, DIE presented the results and recommendations of a study on GIZ’s practice of democracy assistance carried out by Charlotte Fiedler, Julia Leininger and Daniel Nowack. The study covers a wide range of topics including the definition and understanding as well as motivation of democracy assistance and how it can adapt to different contexts and megatrends. Following a commentary by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), staff from GIZ’s management and field offices discussed the study’s recommendations and implications. The more than 180 participants took part in the event and indicated great interest in the topic of democracy assistance and participated actively with many online comments and questions.