The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA, launched a new website on Thursday that closely monitors the state of democracy and human rights around the world.
It will provide monthly analysis and data on 173 countries based on over 100 indicators, from holding clean elections to fair access to justice and civil liberties.
Seema Shah, head of the Democracy Assessment team at IDEA, says she thinks it is a valuable tool as it documents what is happening in a country through the lens of democracy, and why and how it is being impacted.
"It's one thing to say, 'oh, well, the democratic health of country X is weak right now because they just had a flawed election'. But it's another thing to really dig into that election and see what happened that made it flawed. Why should that matter to the overall health of democracy?”
For each country tracked, the website will include basic information such as the population, system of government, and head of state.
But it also includes analysis that aims to give policymakers and others globally the tools to assess and understand the quality of their democracies.
While it doesn’t rank countries, rather compares trends within a nation over time, IDEA’s data shows that democracy in 25 of them is on the decline, while just 11 have shown progress.
"What we've seen is that democracy all over the world has been declining for at least the last decade, if not more. And all the interventions that have been created and all the policy recommendations that are circulating out there so far haven't been able to stem the tide," said Shah.
She said IDEA thinks having more timely data would be able to help decision-makers to be able to make more strategic decisions using the most up to date information out there.
The data is based on Global State of Democracy indices that are the evidence base for IDEA’s annual Global Report on the State of the Democracy.