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This month, the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) marks an important milestone – the end of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Global Elections and Political Transitions (GEPT) leader award, which has supported CEPPS’s worldwide democracy assistance work during the past six years. As you know, the environment for democratic progress is experiencing challenges in almost every corner of the globe. In the face of increasing digital disruptions, malfeasance by authoritarian actors, and the multidimensional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GEPT award enabled CEPPS to support inclusive, locally driven solutions to confront the challenges facing democratic systems.
While this will be the last edition of Beyond the Ballot published under the GEPT award, we look forward to using this, and other forums, to continue highlighting our ongoing efforts and future endeavors under the new, five-year, USAID-funded, Democratic Elections and Political Processes (DEPP) award. Importantly, the DEPP award underscores USAID’s enduring commitment to the advancement of democracy, human rights, and human dignity around the world.
To this end, we are eager to help support the global Democracy, Rights and Governance community as the goals, partnerships, and commitments emerge from December’s Summit for Democracy. In this post-summit Year of Action and beyond, CEPPS will continue assisting the tireless efforts of our partners to strengthen democratic institutions, practices and culture as we respond to ever-changing circumstances on the ground.
We look forward to working together to deliver more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive solutions for all.
Yours in Democracy,
Managing Director, The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening
In 2021, CEPPS launched Democracy! The Podcast, brought to you with support from USAID, through GEPT. The entire first season is available, wherever you get your podcasts, and has enjoyed overwhelming success – thank you for listening! If you haven’t checked out the podcast for yourself yet, each episode takes an in-depth look at some of the biggest challenges to the vitality of democracy around the world. Produced in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), you’ll hear from some of the most experienced experts working in the field of democracy, human rights, and governance and learn from first-hand accounts, as they share how they tackle real-life problems and help move countries towards a more democratic process for all.
As political crises and conflicts worsen in several regions, the quality of democracies around the globe continues to decline. This context makes democracy and governance assistance both increasingly difficult and more crucial than ever before. In conflict and post-conflict transitional environments, weakened institutions, political turmoil, security threats, social divisions and grievances, often hinder efforts to foster good governance practices.
How can democracy and governance programs be more effective in post-conflict environments?
To address these issues, CEPPS/IFES launched the “Identifying Successful Democracy and Governance Approaches in Post Conflict Countries” project. The project, which began in February 2019, sought to analyze more than 25 years of CEPPS’s programming in post-conflict countries and to reflect on how to develop more effective and sustainable interventions in the future.
The first report, “Overcoming Challenges to Democracy and Governance Programs in Post-Conflict Countries: CEPPS Lessons Learned”, was informed by CEPPS program reports and interviews with 28 experienced program implementers. The document outlines obstacles frequently encountered in the democracy and governance field, while offering recommendations for donors and program implementers to build more effective programs.
The second and final report, “Increasing the Success and Sustainability of Democracy and Governance Interventions in Post-Conflict Countries”, merges evidence from a systematic review of the literature on the impact of democracy and governance assistance, and real-world experiences from CEPPS projects as revealed by interviews with 88 partners across the world. The report considers what relevant interventions accomplished over medium and long-term periods, identifies potential moderating variables when operating in post-conflict environments, and investigates which types of interventions appeared more or less likely to yield sustainable results.
Watch the report launch event.
Throughout 2021, CEPPS highlighted the work of many partners around the world through our Spotlight Series, hearing firsthand about their work to support resilient, inclusive democracies. Check out these Spotlight interviews:
Ahead of the Summit for Democracy in December 2021, CEPPS hosted the Youth Voices for Democracy Roundtable with support from USAID through the GEPT award. The roundtable was an opportunity for young people to share their perspectives and recommendations on the summit’s key themes: defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and advancing respect for human rights.
The young leaders at the roundtable generated a series of recommendations which were compiled into the CEPPS’s Youth for Democratic Renewal Declaration. The declaration, which includes recommendations for both government and civil society actors, provides a critical youth perspective to the 2022 Year of Action following the Summit for Democracy and is intended to help inform the US government’s approach to advancing global democracy. Signatories represent CEPPS’s core partners IFES, IRI, and NDI, local CEPPS partners including Generation Democracy, the European Democracy Youth Network, and the Advance Leadership in Politics Institute, as well as young leaders from around the world.
Read the entire declaration.
Under the GEPT award, CEPPS engaged with more than 178 million people around the world. Working directly with election officials, political party representatives, civil society organization representatives, and more, CEPPS’s programs focused on supporting local partners to build resilient, inclusive and accountable democracies.