32nd Forum on Global Issues

© Auswärtiges Amt

On Behalf of the People?
Success factors and pitfalls of external democracy promotion

Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Conference Centre in the Federal Foreign Office

Cooperation partners:
Federal Foreign Office
Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden

In the last twenty years, as stated by the much cited Freedom House-Statistic, the number of democratically constituted states has increased worldwide. However, this development has been everything but a linear process. Rather, at the turn of the millennium after the successful democratization processes of the 1990s in Central and Eastern Europe this trend grinded to a halt. It was already clear at that time: External democracy promotion even under the most favorable structural preconditions is only then effective if the relevant social groups show their will to democratization and the political elites demonstrate the ability to shape the transition. 

Setting in at the end of 2010 in North Africa and the Middle East, the “Arab Spring” came along with high expectations towards a new “wave of democratization”. Talk was of “Facebook”-revolutions – and also the important part of female activists was acknowledged. By now, disillusionment and worries prevail – also the realization that democratization can be a path full of bends that can be accompanied by violence and setbacks. There are no blueprints at hand, instead external actors must adopt their aims, strategies and instruments to the changing constellations in an informed way, but at the same time follow a normative precisely distinguishable line.

By means of the “Forum Globale Fragen” we therefore inquire after current challenges of external democracy promotion, especially after the role of the constitutional process in young democracies, as well as after opportunities and risks of elections in transition countries and finally try to bring to light the characteristics of the recent upheavals in the Arab world.


sef: Policy Lunch

The EU in Global Food Governance


Enough food is produced worldwide to feed humanity, yet more than 815 million people in the world are undernourished. What is the global vision for food and nutrition governance? What initiatives and reforms are being implemented? What role can the EU play?

sef: and CIDSE – International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies will debate these questions during a Policy Lunch in Brussels on 12 July 2018. Register now!

:further info here

Strengthening Social Security in Africa


Social protection is a human right. However, it is only a reality for about one fifth of the people living in Africa. What initiatives have been established at continental, regional and national level in recent years? How successful are they and what are the associated challenges? Around 80 experts discussed these questions during the Potsdam Spring Dialogues on 19/20 April 2018. Read the conference report now!

:further info here

sef: insights 3-4|2018


During the Potsdam Spring Dialogues we spoke to two experts about innovative measures of social protection. Nkateko Chauke elaborates in the interview how a Basic Income Grant for the SADC region might work. Raquel Tebaldi gives recommendations how social protection might cover women better.

Read the interviews as sef: insights or watch them as videos!

:further info here

How to defend digital rights?


Internet freedom is threatened in many states by restrictions to net neutrality or by governments shutting down internet applications. But there are rays of hope. In different world regions, civil society is mobilizing to protect net neutrality or to fight digital rights abuses in the courts. What do activists’ experiences from Europe and Africa have in common? What can journalists and the media contribute?

sef: will discuss these questions with experts from around the globe at a roundtable talk during the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum. Register now!

:further info here

Strengthening Local Peacebuilding


The Berlin Summer Dialogue on 29 and 30 May 2018 will discuss the chances and challenges of local peacebuilding as the basis for sustaining peace., with a particular focus on the participation of women and youth. In addition, we will look at useful support for local peace initiatives from outside. Further information and the programme can be found here. Participation by invitation only.

:further info here