During the second Summit for Democracy, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is unveiling new efforts to advance democracy abroad under the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal (PIDR), as well as sharing updates on progress made over the past year on initiatives announced at the first Summit.
USAID is contributing eight new initiatives – many of which are focused on policy reforms – to the PIDR for the second Summit. The PIDR comprises five lines of effort in response to significant challenges to democracy in the 21st Century. This includes the Partnerships for Democratic Development (PDD), which provides multi-year support to countries that demonstrate sustained democratic progress. Today, at the 2023 Summit for Democracy, USAID is announcing the first wave of nine PDD partner countries: Armenia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Malawi, Nepal, North Macedonia, Paraguay, Timor-Leste, and Zambia.
Supporting Free and Independent Media
- The Media Viability Accelerator collaborates with Internews and six partner organizations, including the private sector, to preserve fact-based news and information media while ensuring that media outlets can survive, thrive, adapt, and grow as businesses. Recognizing the power of the private sector, USAID this week announced a new partnership with Internews and Microsoft, leveraging its technology to support fact-based, independent media.
- Reporters Shield helps to protect investigative journalists from defamation lawsuits by providing insurance liability coverage to cover the cost of defending journalists, civil society activists, and their organizations from defamation, libel, and other lawsuits meant to silence their reporting. It will begin accepting members in May 2023.
- As previously announced at the 2021 Summit for Democracy, USAID’s $20 million contribution to the International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) is helping to boost global support for media sustainability by providing grants to develop and sustain independent journalism; inform the public with fact-based data; enable public debate and dialogue across society; and hold those in power to public account. To support this work, IFPIM obtained additional external commitments of $26.8 million from a variety of democracies, corporations and philanthropies.
- NEW in 2023: Through the Integrity for Development Campaign, USAID will seek to increase donor resources for anti-corruption, especially in environments where the international community is making major development investments, such as in climate finance. This year-long campaign calls on bilateral donors and foundations to join forces with USAID and increase their investments in building integrity.
- NEW in 2023: The Financial Transparency and Integrity (FTI) Accelerator will serve as the strategic umbrella for USAID to surge support for and ensure sustained progress on priorities identified by the Summit’s U.S. government-co-led FTI Democracy Cohort. The FTI Accelerator will drive resources and technical assistance to cohort members and partner governments to help them deliver on their commitments and advance reform in these areas.
- The Countering Transnational Corruption Grand Challenge is harnessing the power of novel and proven technologies and partnering with the private sector, local solvers and influencers, and diverse networks to prevent corrupt actors from siphoning off resources intended for the public good. Earlier this week, USAID announced the 20 semi-finalists for the first activity under the Grand Challenge, Powering a Just Energy Transition Green Minerals Challenge, with our partners Amazon, BHP Foundation, and Chandler Foundation. USAID expects to make awards, ranging from $25,000 - $400,000, to up to ten finalists in August 2023.
- The Empowering Anti-Corruption Change Agents Program (EACCA) seeks to boost the work of anti-corruption change agents and investigative journalists around the world who seek to detect and expose corruption, and empower them with the tools and coalitions needed to strengthen their reform campaigns, advocate for and demand change, operate in safety, and engage in collective and collaborative actions. In the coming months, this program will establish investigative journalism networks in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. When combined with similar networks USAID supports in Europe and Eurasia and Latin America, these efforts will enable journalists to expose corruption schemes on a global scale.
- The Global Accountability Program (GAP) aims to curb transnational corruption, grand corruption, and kleptocracy by strengthening countries’ defenses against illicit finance, money laundering, and other criminal flows and accelerating international cooperation.
- The Anti-Corruption Response Fund (ACRF) addresses emerging and dynamic opportunities within countries to counter corruption, responds to heightened corruption risks and challenges, and pilots new approaches to countering transnational corruption and implementing the USAID Anti-Corruption Policy. USAID’s Missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dominican Republic received the first tranche of ACRF funding.
Bolstering Democratic Reformers and Human Rights
- NEW in 2023: USAID will advance People-Centered Justice, an evidence-based, innovative approach designed to help justice institutions, first and foremost, meet the day-to-day justice needs of the people they serve, as the cornerstone of its soon to be released first-ever Rule of Law Policy. The United States also became a member of the Justice Action Coalition and is using this platform to further advance people-centered justice globally, in collaboration with the Summit’s Rule of Law Cohort.
- NEW in 2023: USAID is working with bilateral and multilateral partners, philanthropic foundations, and civil society actors to develop International Principles for Supporting Peaceful Collective Action, as part of the agency’s commitment to support activism and social movements. USAID, together with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), is leading the design of the principles and recommendations as a part of the Summit’s Civic Space Cohort.
- NEW in 2023: USAID will expand protections for defenders of democracy and human rights through improved duty of care and strengthen social safeguards, including by establishing a new accountability mechanism, a Beneficiaries’ Bill of Rights, and additional social safeguard capabilities to effectively conduct social impact analysis and guide social risk management and mitigation.
- Powered by the People (PxP) provides direct and accessible financial assistance, including legal and psychosocial support, to address the needs, opportunities, and challenges identified by activists and other civic actors engaged in collective action and peaceful movements. PxP will help strengthen the agency, resiliency, and efficacy of activists and people-powered social movements.
- Advancing Women’s and Girls’ Civic and Political Leadership adopts an ecosystem approach to improve women’s civic and political engagement. The initiative targets individual, structural, and socio-cultural barriers and prevents and mitigates violence against women in politics and public life while supporting women and girls as they fully exercise their civic and political rights. USAID has identified eight initial focus countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Tanzania, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Kyrgyz Republic, and Yemen.
- The Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights (M-POWER) is helping improve worker rights and empowerment by bringing together governments, unions, labor academics, and civil society organizations to strengthen workplace democracy globally. M-POWER includes a commitment by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), USAID, and U.S. Department of State to invest more than $120 million over two years for innovative technical assistance to empower workers and strengthen worker voices. M-POWER was formally launched on December 8, 2022 and held its first Secretariat meeting
Advancing Technology for Democracy
- NEW in 2023: USAID will work with international partners to develop a set of Donor Principles for the Digital Age as adopted safeguards to help ensure that donor-supported programs do not inadvertently facilitate the weaponization of or harm caused by data driven technologies and information.
- Advancing Digital Democracy (ADD) is working to foster open, secure, inclusive, and rights-respecting digital democracies. Building on the existing programming in two partner countries, ADD activities are being expanded to six additional USAID partner countries this year. USAID is working with local governments, civil society, academia, and the private sector to support multistakeholder engagement in this initiative.
- NEW in 2023: The Promoting Information Integrity and Resilience (Pro-Info) Initiative will build on the work of the Summit’s Information Integrity Cohort and USAID and U.S. Department of State’s new and existing efforts to strengthen information integrity and resilience globally in the countries we operate in overseas.
Defending Free and Fair Elections and Political Processes
- NEW in 2023: USAID will enhance its support for democratic elections globally by developing guidelines for USAID Electoral Assistance for the 21st Century, which adheres to U.S. government values and draws from global electoral assistance principles and best practices. The guidelines will take into account the changing nature of electoral assistance and serve as a model for other international development agencies.
- The Global Network for Securing Electoral Integrity (GNSEI) is rallying the international electoral integrity community to create a platform for advancing electoral integrity norms and guidelines. USAID has facilitated the formation of the Global Network for Securing Electoral Integrity with more than 30 international organizations, intergovernmental organizations, development agencies, and election networks. The Network launched on March 21, 2023, with nearly 200 participants from leading election organizations across the globe.
- The Defending Democratic Elections (DDE) Fund pilots and scales solutions to enhance electoral integrity – particularly those posing a threat during the period in between elections. The Fund is also supporting activities that help advance countries’ election-related commitments from the first Summit, and will support programming in at least 15 partner countries.
For FY 2023 and FY 2024, the Administration has requested $540 million ($270 million annually) to support USAID’s PIDR programming, subject to the availability of funds and working with Congress.