Poverty, Democracy and Development

Issues for Consideration by the Commonwealth Expert Group on Democracy and Development

image of Poverty, Democracy and Development

A companion volume to Making Democracy Work for Pro-poor Development, this paper was written as a background note for the Commonwealth Expert Group on Democracy and Development, and was key in clarifying some of the major themes to be deliberated by the Group, chaired by the current Prime Minister of India, Hon. Manmohan Singh. It is in four parts. The first part reviews the extent of poverty and outlines some of the particular challenges confronting democracies in the current historical situation. The second part discusses the links between conflict, poverty and development on the one hand and democracy and good governance on the other, and possible ways by which support may be provided to democracies in combating poverty. The third part discusses possible strategies for winning global support, and the role of the Commonwealth in mobilising such support. The fourth part provides a summary of issues for the consideration of the Expert Group.



The Role of the Commonwealth

What role can the Commonwealth play in supporting democracies in poverty reduction? As we have noted at various points in this paper, the Commonwealth already plays a significant role in conflict resolution and peace-building and, through the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, exercises peer pressure on member countries which are violating democracy. It also reinforces the processes and institutions of democracy through observing elections and helping with capacity building. By linking countries at different stages of development, it brings greater understanding of the problems affecting which affect them, including why poverty persists and the problems democracies face in combating it.


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