A Light in the Dark: Opportunities for Strengthening Resilience in the Covid-era Between the Summits for Democracy
Last month, the Biden administration held the 2021 Summit for Democracy with representatives from approximately 100 countries in attendance. Convening leaders, activists, and human rights defenders from around the world, the Summit centered on opportunities to achieve three goals: strengthening democracy and countering authoritarianism; combatting corruption; and promoting respect for human rights.
These goals directly relate to how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the severity of ongoing democratic erosion around the world, which has witnessed significant regression for civil rights and political liberties, as Freedom House, International IDEA, and other organizations have documented. Successive waves of infections tied to the emergence of new variants suggest neither the virus nor these additional vulnerabilities to democratic integrity will disappear anytime soon. Thus, the world’s democracies have an urgent responsibility to combat the pandemic and bolster democratic resilience simultaneously.