Strenghening democracy and participation

Democratic backsliding is a widely cited theme, but the governance crisis is much broader and affects all spheres of social life – at the same time, opportunities for deepening democratic deliberation are substantial.

  • Global cooperation is breaking down, a new cold war between blocks is settling in, and a global civil society, or a global demos, which could voice demands for global public goods, is missing.
  • Democratic backsliding is ongoing: authoritarianism, nationalism, hateful and intolerant threats to minorities and opponents, polarization, distrust in institutions and science are on the rise.
  • Participatory mechanisms are however spreading and new possibilities for inclusive deliberation and decision mechanisms are emerging.
  • Fraud, corruption and lobbying are widespread and undermine efficient governance at various levels (local, national, supranational).
  • An economic and governance crisis in the media, the emergence of informational bubbles, and social media abuses distort the public debate and undermine democracy, but also offer new ways of connecting people with common interests, of collective action and of building a global citizenship.
  • Even if authoritarian management and harmful human resource practices still prevail in business organizations, social innovations prove that horizontal, inclusive structures are better for all stakeholders and that corporate governance can be reformed.