Democracy in the times of Corona
The Embassy of Sweden in Seoul and International IDEA co-hosted a webinar on 9 June 2020 on how to protect democracy during the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19, sharing examples and experiences from Australia, the Republic of Korea and Sweden.
The 'Drive for Democracy' is a key focus area for the Swedish Government. The initiative aims to provide support to the institutions, processes and defenders of democracy, while also responding to the growing threats and challenges facing democracy today. As a part of this drive, Sweden co-organizes “Democracy Talks” with partners all over the world.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected the world in all aspects, not least when it comes to democracy and fundamental freedoms. As per International IDEA's Global State of Democracy Report 2019, Australia, the Republic of Korea and Sweden are all among the highest performing democracies in the world. However, their strategies and responses have varied, revealing the nuances and importance of national contexts.
The purpose of the discussion was to highlight democracy aspects globally and locally. Some of the questions addressed:
1. How important are the robustness of institutions, levels of societal trust and access to information when dealing with a pandemic without undermining democracy?
2. What does COVID-19 reveal of our political systems, leadership and citizenry?
3. What may be the medium-and longer-term implications of COVID-19 to democracy?