What

Next Generation Democracy is a two-year, multi-stakeholder process under the coordination of the Club de Madrid. The overall aim of NGD is to better enable democracy to meet the expectations and needs of all citizens and preserve their freedom and dignity while securing a sustainable future for generations to come.

NGD facilitates a discussion on the state and future of democracy in order to formulate both regional agendas and a global agenda, to reverse disquieting trends and advance democracy worldwide. The project progressively offers a comprehensive analysis of regional dynamics in democratic governance, a projection of relevant trends, and a compilation of transformative practices and transformative ideas to be discussed in a series of policy dialogues as well as through on-line exchanges. This will help generate collective responses, rather than fragmented and independent actions, and shape consensus around shared, forward-looking, action-oriented agendas.

NGD brings together in a direct and interactive manner expert assessments with the experienced perspectives of leading social, economic and political actors, including more than 100 Member of CdM, all of them democratically elected former Presidents and Prime Ministers from more than 60 countries.

The envisaged impact of NGD is:

  1. Ideas and proposals originating within the NGD process will be shared with stakeholders engaged in shaping the UN’s Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as with partners working on democratic development, human rights, inclusive market economy, foreign policy and sustainability.
  1. NGD regional agendas and the NGD global agenda will be forwarded to sitting Heads of State and Government, legislators, municipal leaders, civil society and corporate leaders, and relevant organizations as a contribution to the ongoing debate on good governance and the quality of multi-level democracy.
  1. A strategy for the monitoring and implementation of NGD agendas will be agreed upon during the Policy Dialogue Democracy in a Sustainable Future, which will be held in Minnesota in October 2015, later to be pursued by all NGD participating partners.

As Members of the Club de Madrid, we are convinced that democratic governance is the answer. Governance determines our lives as individuals and members of our community and organizes the use of resources and the economy in general. Governance must therefore generate collaboration across sectors in order to protect our rights and provide for the preservation of ecosystems while creating business opportunities for all. We are convinced that no form of governance but democratic governance can effectively deal with such multifaceted challenge in an inclusive manner.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia and President of the Club de Madrid, on behalf of the 97 democratic, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, Members of the Club de Madrid

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Why

Due to a major increase in the number of democratic countries during the twentieth century, half of the world’s population lives under a democratic regime of some form. Representative democracy, however, may be at a turning point, as signals of decline have appeared globally since the beginning of the present century. Today, there is a growing perception that democratic governments are not delivering, which is leading to disaffection, populism and social unrest, in turn generating an apparent regression towards authoritarian behaviors.

There is also a perception, although not shared by all, that democracy needs to expand beyond the strictly political realm. Economic policies cannot be shielded from claims for greater participation, since they are at the heart of today´s governance. Democratic countries need to show that they can be no less efficient in creating conditions for all citizens to live a decent life than those nondemocratic ones where the market economy has already taken root.

Contemporary democracy needs to face yet another fundamental challenge. It needs not only to continue to be sustainable as the best form of governance, but must also secure a sustainable planet for the sake of future generations. Here again, the electoral cycle induces short-termism precisely when lasting commitments are desperately needed. A long-term, global, economic and social deal is essential if our soil and air are to continue being suitable for humankind to exist.

Even as citizens, and indeed protesters, are demanding real democracy, not necessarily turning against it, the present situation points to the limits of political representation. A continuing erosion of democracy, further exacerbated by the economic crisis experienced since 2008, constitutes a major additional threat to stability and peace. At the same time, international efforts to deepen and foster democracy and human rights seem to have halted or, at best, slowed.

How

NGD will analyze trends on the basis of a template establishing a common structure for the formulation of a series of regional reports. The template has been specifically formulated by the CdM, with the collaboration of the Bertelsmann Stiftung for this purpose. NGD reports offer a comprehensive synthesis of trends and projections in a particular region, thus providing an overview of the past and expected evolution of democracy in that region and facilitating a comparison of the state and future of democracy between different regions.

NGD draft reports are drafted by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index Team and discussed with NGD regional partners; namely, the Atlantic Council, Carnegie Middle-East Center, FRIDE, FLACSO, the Institute for Security Studies, and the Observer Research Foundation. They are subsequently fine-tuned during NGD regional and global policy dialogues.

According to the same template, NGD organizes transformative practices and transformative ideas countering disquieting trends and advancing democracy in different regions. Those ´remedies´ will help identify and define key elements for the formulation of the realistic and feasible NGD regional agendas, thus avoiding a simple listing or recommending a blind replication of best practices. Elements referring to trends and actions transcending regions, or when considered effective to advance democracy globally, will be incorporated into the future NGD global agenda.

The NGD process, comprising meetings in different regions of the world as well as on-line contributions and exchanges, will serve to complete and fine-tune NGD templates thus creating the NGD matrix, which will be constantly updated. NGD becomes, in this sense, a cross-learning exercise based on inputs provided directly by relevant stakeholders from different regions.

The design of the NGD template reflects the complexity of contemporary advanced democracy, which cannot be regarded as monolithic but rather as a ‘system of overlapping regimes’, be they national, sub or supra-national, semi-public or private but complementing each other.

The basic structure of the NGD template comprises:

Three Tracks

  • People and communities
  • Business and the Economy
  • Resources and Ecosystems

Within each track the template will cover:

Three dimensions

  • Values and Institutions
  • Access and Inclusiveness
  • Management and Policies

The NGD template will structure regional reports for each of the following regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Americas, Asia-Oceania, Post-Soviet Eurasia, Wider Europe, and Broader MENA.

The initial Policy Dialogue (Florence, Italy, 24-25 November 2014) focuses on the first track of the NGD project – ‘People and Communities’ -, broadly covering the relations between individuals and groups with the State in a predominantly socio-political perspective. Regional dialogues, as well as specific global meetings, during 2015 will then focus on the second and third tracks of the project; namely, “Business and the Economy” and “Resources and Ecosystems”.

The project is unique in that all three tracks will be analyzed through the lens and from the perspective of democratic governance.