The FCO supports democracy around the world in a number of ways:
Our support for democratic consolidation takes account of the individual characteristics of each country, its history and its culture.
Our support is shaped by the differing contexts, recognising what is and is not achievable.
The UK will focus its support on key countries where it can make a difference while also working to develop an international political environment supportive of democratic transitions.
There is no agreement on how or why democracy occurs. Empirical studies show that each democratisation process is different with causes and dynamics specific to the State concerned. However there is growing evidence that the role of external events and actors are rarely a decisive influence on whether a transition to democracy occurs.
Rather internal factors within the State seem to be drive democratic change. Even then, democracy is by no means the inevitable result.
External actors do however have a role in supporting the internal processes towards democracy once a transition is underway. This is where our support is focused.
Many others, including States and organisations, recognise the benefits of democracy and its importance as a universal value, and are working to consolidate it.
Regional organisations are of particular relevance in that they can have a particular legitimacy and linkage, and the ability to consolidate democratic practices through membership and other agreements. The EU, through its enlargement policies for example, demonstrates this.
The UK works with regional organisations such as the European Union, the African Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Commonwealth to strengthen their democracy work.
Democracy is more than just elections - it is acceptance for the principles of equity, participation, transparency and accountability. It is respect for human rights and the rule of law.
This is why the UK supports not only the electoral process but the wide range of democracy initiatives.
This includes, amongst other activities:
Supporting elections and electoral processes is central to the UK's work to advance democracy.
Respecting human rights means allowing all people the information they need to make informed choices and to challenge or criticise their government.
Individuals and groups who work to raise awareness of human rights and their government’s responsibility to protect those rights.
Supporting democratic political party development overseas