2021 was a year of further democratic backsliding in many countries worldwide. Seventy percent of the world's population now live in either outright non-democratic regimes or democratically backsliding countries, compared to forty-six percent ten years ago.
In December 2021, one hundred countries joined President Biden's Summit for Democracy to affirm global commitments to democracy, with the White House announcing 2022 as a 'year of action' to support and promote democracy worldwide. As part of the preparation for this conference, fourteen leading pro-democracy organisations and think tanks came together and identified Five Messages for the summit that are crucial to advancing democracy worldwide. In the European Union, a Team Europe Democracy Initiative was also launched to inspire coordination with EU member states on external democracy action.
Russia's attack against Ukraine has escalated this shift in the geopolitical landscape. A watershed moment for the future of democracy, this war further advances anti-democratic trends worldwide. Yet at this same time, the last few months have seen the international community, including EU member states, come together in an unprecedented show of solidarity to protect and support democracy.
During this year's Democracy Day discussions, a wide range of high-level speakers, international democracy advocates and activists from both sides of the Atlantic and the Global South will address the challenges of this new world order for democracy. They will discuss the mechanisms to protect and support democracy, such as Team Europe, and the potential for greater North-South collaboration.