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Drive for Democracy

Focus areas:
1. Promote and strengthen civil society, including human rights defenders
2. Strengthen free and independent media and democratic voices (such as cultural workers), including on the internet, to combat disinformation
3. Support democratic processes and election authorities
4. Promote the growth of effective and independent institutions that are free from corruption
5. Strengthen political systems with competing political parties
6. Strengthen respect for the rule of law
7. Promote and protect the enjoyment of human rights by all
8. Strengthen women’s political participation
9. Promote young persons democratic engagement
10. Promote equality through social integration
11. Promote free and fair trade
12. Promote corporate social responsibility and combat corruption

In terms of implementation methodologies and governance, the Drive for Democracy is a key component of Sweden’s 2019 Statement of Foreign Policy and Strategy 2022. The Drive for Democracy is underpinned by principles of consistency, differentiation in relation to the country-specific or thematic context, the human rights perspective and integration between different policy areas. Methods for activities and partnerships includes dialogue, cooperation, support, scrutiny, reactions/statements, public diplomacy and communication. Sweden seeks to deepen dialogue with other countries and actors on democracy such as Civil Society Organizations, individuals and companies. Sweden will give priority to democracy in our bilateral and in our multilateral cooperation as well as within the European Union.
In order to follow-up developments with regards to democracy globally, several institutions produce useful indexes and indicators. The University of Gothenburg, V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy. IDEA is another good example with their Global State of Democracy Index. Sweden supports through Sida Afrobarometer which conducts opinion polls on democracy and governance in Africa. This support also responds directly to target 17.18.
Each specific project and initiative under the umbrella of the Drive for Democracy will be followed-up according to pre-existing modalities applicable to the implementing body and donor.

Expected impact

Around the world we see democratic backsliding. Today, more people live in countries with authoritarian tendencies than in countries making democratic progress. Democratic processes are being undermined. The rule of law is being scorned. Strengthening our focus on democracy and the rule of law is not only essential to achieving SDG 16, but for the implementation of the whole agenda. Sweden will stand up for democratic principles in all contexts, such as citizen participation, human rights, representative government, gender equality, separation of powers, the rule of law, free media, independent institutions, social equality and integration – areas linked to all the SDGs.

In particular, efforts against corruption and for the rule of law are fundamental in discussions about building confidence in democratic institutions. A society characterized by corruption becomes inefficient, falls short on service delivery – such as health (SDG 3), education (SDG 4), reduced inequalities (10) and overall poverty reduction (SDG 1). Such broad, growth-promoting investments are often lacking in countries with authoritarian rule.
Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy and the Drive for Democracy complement and strengthen each other. This is essential to achieve SDG 5.



Goal 1
Goal 5
Goal 10
Goal 16
Goal 17
Other, please specify
The budget year in Sweden is annual. There is an ambition to increase resources earmarked to strengthened democracy in Sweden’s Development Cooperation contributions.
Basic information
Start: 13 February, 2019
Completion: 30 September, 2022
Government of Sweden (Government)
The EU, the United Nations, Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Community of Democracies, African Union (AU), Organization of American States (OAS), civil society organizations and actors with the aim of strengthening democracy and people’s participation. Swedish companies who want to be part of and contribute to a more democratic development.
Initiative focused on COVID-19 pandemic response, prevention and recovery efforts
Not specified
Geographical coverage
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficiaries
Contact information
Désirée Hermann, Desk Officer, Global Agenda Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, desiree.hermann@gov.se, 0738003524
Stockholm, Sweden
United Nations