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Fluicity 2023 wishes

  • Thursday, December 15, 2022

  • As civic tech advocates, the Fluicity team is deeply concerned about the state of democracy. Over the past year, we have seen a disturbing trend of governments around the world taking actions that undermine the fundamental principles of democracy.  In 2023, it is crucial that we reimagine and rebuild our democratic systems in order to address the numerous challenges and inequalities that exist within our society. In this end of the year note, we wanted to illustrate this urge by summarizing what we’ve learned from the latest report entitled “The Global State of Democracy 2022” from a civic tech point of view.

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    At the end of 2022, the world is trapped beneath the weight of a multitude of old and new problems. There are myriad causes of political and economic instability, including :

    • the spiking prices of food and energy
    • ballooning inflation and an impending recession
    • the unstable context of continuing climate change
    • long unresolved inequality
    • the Covid-19 pandemic
    • declining standards of living
    • the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

    Worryingly, the number of people who believe that democracy is the answer to these problems is shrinking. The Global State of Democracy’s latest findings reveal a “decline in and stagnation of democracy around the world.  While many democracies have put in place the laws and infrastructure required to support democratic institutions, unequal access to those institutions is a serious and continuing problem”.

    Our key concerns

    • Global opinion surveys show that this period has coincided with declining public faith in the value of democracy itself. The World Values Survey (which covers 77 countries) demonstrates that less than half (47.4 per cent) of all respondents believe democracy is important, down from 52.4 per cent in 2017
    • In the US threats to democracy persists after the Trump Presidency, illustrated by polarization, counter majoritarianism and the rolling back of long term establish rights
    • Nearly half (43 per cent) of democracies—a total of 17 countries—in Europe have suffered erosion in the last five years. These declines affect 46 per cent of the high-performing democracies.
    • in the middle east, more than a decade after the Arab Uprisings, protest movements continue to be motivated by government failures in service delivery and economic opportunities—key aspects of social contracts.

    Where we find hope

    • Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine has highlighted that democracy is central to the defense of peace and prosperity. The defense of democracy and its values has become more important to the Europeans since the Russia invasion
    • As a result the expansion of democracy in Armenia, Moldava, Ukraine is a clear manifestation of the desire to root national identity and sovereignty in democratic institutions.
    • Innovative forms of political participation have been tested all over Europe, including citizens’ assemblies, participatory budgeting in cities like Paris or Milan, sortition and new participation platforms in Estonia and Madrid
    • Despite myriad challenges, Africa remains resilient in the face of instability. Countries including The Gambia, Niger and Zambia continue to improve in democratic quality. In South Africa, Young activists have been involved in formulating government climate policy: several worked on the City of Johannesburg’s 2021 Climate Action Plan.
    • Mexico’s National Electoral Institute developed a Civic Culture Strategy that aims to empower citizens and increase their participation in public debate, advocacy and strengthening the accountability of political institutions
    • Canada’s Human Rights Commission has taken steps to tap into participatory processes to guide decision making on social issues. For example, the Federal Housing Advocate, housed at the Commission, relies on public submissions from Canadians suffering housing issues and homelessness to inform policy recommendations.

    In order to reinvent democracy in 2023, we must take bold and innovative steps to ensure that our democratic systems are inclusive, representative, and capable of addressing the urgent issues of our time. This may include implementing new technologies, such as online voting systems and online participation platforms, to increase accessibility and participation. It may also involve reforming our political institutions and structures to promote greater transparency and accountability.

    So let us stand together and defend democracy. Let us continue to speak out against injustice and inequality. Let us support free and fair elections, and protect the rights of all citizens. Let us work to build a better future for ourselves and for generations to come.

    Here's to a wonderful end of the year, and to a brighter future for us all.

    With love and best wishes,

    The Fluicity Team