Democracy: a model of success in crisis?

The latest issue of GIZ’s akzente magazine shows what people expect from democracy and how deficits can be overcome.

Too stagnant, too slow, unable to meet the challenges of our time – democracy as a political system is under fire. There is even talk of democracy being in crisis. The latest issue of akzente, the magazine published by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, examines whether this is the case. We go beyond the loud statements and theories and present interesting facts and insights.

In his feature essay, political scientist Stefano Palestini analyses the state of democracy in general, but with a particular focus on his home country of Chile. He sets out the minimum requirements that a democratic state must fulfil and explains why vibrant democracies need more than elections. They require real participation and well-run public services.

In an interview, social scientist Shandana Khan Mohmand makes the case for giving more powers to towns and local authorities. This is because they not only shape people’s lives but are also vital in ensuring that citizens are content. In addition to providing the everyday services people need, local government is also the level on which they can participate directly in making decisions.

More participation and fairness are also key aims of GIZ’s work. In Uganda, for instance, people are learning how they can help shape the country’s energy policy. In order to ensure that a political system remains stable in the long term, young people in particular need to be given opportunities in their own countries. With this in mind, GIZ is working to create a brighter future for the youth of El Salvador.

Also in this issue of akzente: To handle epidemics successfully, we must all act together. This lesson, which people the world over are now learning as we combat coronavirus, is one already being put into practice by Madagascar in its fight against the plague. We accompanied a team of scientists as they tackled the disease in the island republic off the south-east coast of Africa. For the German Epidemic Preparedness Team, which is coordinated by GIZ, no location is too remote.

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