Dear Friends and Partners,
As the world races to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, governments, health workers, business and civil society are working together to safeguard the health and welfare of people everywhere. Our thoughts are with all these brave citizens, and with everyone doing their part individually to address this global challenge.
Safeguarding the safety and welfare of our NDI community, and of all communities in which we work, is NDI’s number one priority. Respecting expert advice on social distancing as the best means to reduce the spread of the virus, all NDI offices have adapted to remote work status, to allow staff to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
Even as our work adapts, we remain committed to continuing our democracy support programming as best we can, if often from some distance. The demand for governments to be responsive to citizens is never higher than in times of crisis. But while citizens may need governments to take decisive, sometimes coercive action to safeguard health and safety, they must remain vigilant to ensure such actions are conducted with fealty to democratic norms: transparency, accountability, open communications, rule of law.
To that end, we are working now with parliaments to ensure they respect civil liberties as they consider taking urgent legislative action in response to the crisis, and partnering with local officials on how to effectively respond to citizen needs at this critical time. Even as some authoritarian regimes risk lives by withholding information and denying the reality of the crisis, our partners are already rising to the moment, and creatively adapting to ensure our programs to elevate citizen voices continue forward.
NDI will continue to proceed creatively during this extraordinarily challenging time, even as conditions remain fluid. Good governance remains at the heart of effective crisis response. As does unity and solidarity of peoples across all boundaries and divisions. We will do our part to keep connected to our partners, and continue to offer both solidarity and tools to promote justice, dignity and good governance in their countries. We thank you as always for your support, and wish you and yours strength and safety during these difficult days.
Derek Mitchell, President