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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.

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New Challenges Facing Democracies in Combating Poverty

It is possible to argue that poor democracies are confronted with rather new challenges because of certain special historical factors prevalent today; one may identify the following: 1. The spread of conflicts, the phenomenon of collapsed states and terrorism; 2. Challenges of transition from authoritarian rule to democratic and market freedoms; 3. Globalisation; 4. HIV/AIDS; 5. The degradation of the environment.

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