Jonathan Murphy - Senior advisor and team leader, EU-UNDP Rada for Europe Project, Kyiv, Ukraine
Since the end of the Cold War, strengthening democracy and human rights has been at the core of development, from promoting ‘good governance’ to addressing conflict, fragility and peace and state-building. Yet in many countries democracy has not taken root, and the democratic institutions in place often remain weak and ineffective, especially in settings affected by conflict. There is a growing perception that international efforts to support democracy have fallen well short of expectations and their overall effectiveness is under scrutiny.
The recent election of President Trump, support for Brexit, and the growing appeal of populist politics across Europe reveals a growing disappointment with mainstream politics which is considered ‘elitist’ and disconnected from the reality of peoples’ everyday lives.
Meanwhile, the phenomenal economic success of countries like China and other 'Asian Tigers' in lifting people out of poverty has increased the appeal of authoritarian models of development.
Drawing on perspectives from the United States, the UK, and beyond, this event explores the implications for international support to democracy and human rights in this new era of disillusionment.