Democracy International Annual Report 2019



Wow, what a busy year it has been! Our work in 2019 was more diverse and international than ever before.

Around the world, democracies have seen ugly and repeated political attacks on freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of the judiciary. Not only the foundations of our democracies are under attack, so are the people defending it. We have seen an alarming and accelerated decline in civic space: twice as many people as last year now live in repressed countries.



All over the world, citizens took to the streets, from the Fridays for Future movement that swept the planet to pro-democracy demonstrations in Lebanon, Sudan, Hong Kong and Chile. The citizens of the world have one clear message, “the future belongs to us!”

More than anything, 2019 was the year of the citizen! This makes our work of supporting them - supporting you - more necessary than ever.

Increasingly, we are creating spaces for civil society and citizens: for the first time this year, we offered grants for young activists to join our Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, and we are well on the way to open an Initiative House for Human Rights and Democracy in Cologne.

We have launched some new and exciting projects, like our online platform for democracy activists and our campaign for a World Citizens’ Initiative. And we have also seen a lot of our work of the past years pay off: we had a spectacular edition of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy in Taiwan, our European Public Sphere went on its most extensive tour to date and the European elections signified a watershed moment for our campaigns, with long-awaited successes on the European Citizens’ Initiative and lobby transparency.


With all of this going on, we still found time to move! We have taken up residence at our new offices in the city centre of Cologne, from where we will continue to fight the good fight. But we cannot do it alone. As you read through our annual report, know that none of it would be possible without your support.

You continue to inspire and encourage us, and for that we are incredibly grateful. So thank you for your encouragement and passion! Together, we are ready to start the roaring twenties!

The Democracy International Team


Democracy International fights to strengthen direct democracy worldwide. Our work centres around fostering direct democracy, citizen participation and transparent decision-making, as well as supporting activists around the world. You can support our work with a donation or by becoming a sponsor.

Democracy International