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Newsletter 14

Democracy Assistance: International Co-operation for Democracy

What has democracy assistance achieved? How has it been managed and how can it be improved? What works, what doesn’t and why? To reflect on these critical issues, International IDEA hosted a workshop on "Co-operating for Democracy: Assessing Democracy Assistance" on 6 December 1999, attended by ten experts in the field of democracy assistance and aid management.

Because foreign policy objectives changed after the Cold War ended, whilst at the same time the concept of development aid grew wider, aid agencies have had to reconsider their policies and approaches for promoting democracy. In the last decade, one of the main changes has been a gradual, albeit incomplete, mainstreaming of democracy promotion in the agendas and funding policies of bilateral and multilateral donors. After a decade of democracy assistance and funding, the strategies pursued by the international donors appear to have fallen short on the impact they were intended to achieve. The widespread disappointment at the effectiveness of democracy aid in a period of declining aid commitments and multiple pressure on aid budgets has generated an increasing "donor fatigue".

During the workshop, Thomas Carothers, Vice President for Global Policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, presented his new book Aiding Democracy Abroad -- the Learning Curve, which provides a comprehensive and critical analysis of the history, strategy, implementation and evaluation of American democracy assistance programming abroad.

International IDEA is undertaking a project on "Co-operating for Democracy: Democratic Governance and International Development Co-operation". The aim of the project is to make a systematic review of donor policies and practices in the field of democracy assistance and good governance support, by exploring the lessons learned from a decade of democracy assistance and international development co-operation for democracy.

Newsletter 14
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