Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, we have had a period of more than fifteen years of democratisation worldwide. Yet, in the last fifteen years democracy is under pressure and authoritarianism is on the rise. The war in Ukraine is only the last expression of a whole series of developments that show that non-democratic countries actively oppose democratisation, not only within their borders but also abroad. Authoritarian regimes pose threats to democracy, but so do anti-democratic movements, even in well-established democracies such as the Netherlands, where a growing number of people do not see democracy as the best system of governance.

The urgency is clear. We cannot take democracy for granted. We are a coalition of organisations that want to prevent further backsliding of democracy, and improve democracy both at home as well as abroad.

We have formulated a manifest on behalf of Dutch civil society, including recommendations for the Dutch government on how to improve democratic institutions and practices in the Netherlands and strengthen democracy abroad. We call on the government to include these recommendations in its contribution to the upcoming second ‘Summit on Democracy’, that will be organised by US President Biden in early 2023.