Helping democracies deliver on sustainable development is a core challenge NDI addresses by building on its comparative advantage as an actor working on the political dimensions of development. NDI’s conception of development extends beyond basic measures of economic growth. Like governments and program partners around the world, NDI endorses the broad vision of development enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes a focus on environmental sustainability, leaving no one behind and amplifying the political voice of women and other traditionally marginalized communities.
In the COVID-19 crisis, NDI’s focus on the nexus of democracy and development is especially relevant as governments around the world struggle to deliver effective relief and economic recovery programs. Laying bare the profound inequalities characteristic of economic systems around the world, the pandemic offers the opportunity to advance beyond ‘business as usual’ government policies and programs, in favor of economic policy making and implementation that is inclusive, equitable, transparent and sustainable. At the same time, the increasing transnational influence of illiberal regimes underscores the need to make an economic case for democracy as the superior path toward sustainable development.
NDI believes that a sustainable recovery can only be achieved through “building back democratically” centered on deliberate political engagement in policy making that is participatory, inclusive, transparent and accountable, as well as improved transparency and oversight as it relates to relief and service delivery.