Policy success through anticipation: How to build a democratic culture of emergency preparedness?

While democracies are frequently put to test, having to remain adaptable to new contexts, innovations and challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic entailed a unique defiance to their resilience and capacity for renewal. The sudden global health crisis sent shock waves across every aspect of daily lives, shaking governance, society and multilateralism to the core and escalating pre-existing tensions. When discussing life in a post-COVID world, many challenges still lie ahead, from equal vaccine distribution to building a strong, resilient, green and inclusive global recovery. Above all, there is an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of different measures and approaches, and to build more robust global strategies for similar future threats. 

With that in mind, Club de Madrid in partnership with Fundación ACS, Oxfam, Edelman and IDEA created a Global Commission on Democracy and Emergency to identify good practices for democratic governance in situations of emergency. The commission is hosting regional sessions looking into specific challenges for democracy during COVID-19 in four regions on three main themes: mechanisms of democracy and fundamental rights, social inclusion in emergency response, and effective leadership and democratic culture. The goal is to mobilize political will around an outcome document produced in December, offering a set of recommendations that will be shared through online discussions and help guide emergency preparedness in democratic contexts worldwide. 

Promoting a culture of emergency preparedness requires a shift from a reactive approach to a “disaster risk management ‘all-hazards’ approach.” This preparedness requires a collaborative joint effort between all sectors of society, including local and national governments, multilateral agencies, and international organizations that must act with effective communication and coordination. Although it is in the nature of emergencies to be unpredictable, such dialogues will help mitigate vulnerability in the face of human suffering, displacement and/or imminent threat to human lives, ensuring cohesive, affirmative action both during the emergency and in its aftermath, re-establishing the trust that democracies have recently been deprived of. 

In this Live Session, we discussed the success stories of New Zealand and South Korea and addressed the wide range of regional responses, their effects and lessons learned from them.
19 August at 10:00 CET 


-Helen Clark, Member of Club de Madrid, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008)

-Han Seung-soo, Member of Club de Madrid, Prime Minister of the Rep. of Korea (2008-2009)

-Maria Ressa, Executive Editor and CEO of Rappler

-Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP (The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific)

-Facilitator: Ali Imran, Club de Madrid Senior Expert in Pakistan