Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

  • SignatureSolution 2 - Governance


UNDP supports countries in reimagining and strengthening more inclusive, resilient, and adaptive democratic processes and institutions. This requires, among other things, access to accurate information, inclusive and transparent electoral and parliamentary processes, checks and balances and opportunities for non-state actors to influence decision-making. Digital technologies can  increase citizen participation and engagement, promote transparency, and improve accountability. However, digital technologies also present significant risks; for example, they may accelerate manipulation of civic space and spread misinformation which can in turn weaken democratic institutions and erode trust in democratic processes.

To effectively implement digital solutions within democratic processes, it is important to carefully assess and mitigate these risks while maximising potential opportunities. This can be achieved through robust planning, testing, and implementation of digital solutions, complemented by ongoing monitoring and evaluation to identify and address any issues that emerge.  

Digitalization plays a significant role in the signature solution 2 – Governance part of UNDP’s 2022-25 Strategic Plan, including in efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. This guide covers four specific areas where digital transformation is vital in this regard: civic engagement, information integrity, elections, and parliamentary development.  

Key messages

  • Digital transformation presents new opportunities to solve old problems whilst also introducing significant challenges and threats. For example, digitalization has undoubtedly created new ways to exercise civil liberties. However, it has also enabled restrictions on citizen participation.
    • Opportunities include unprecedented access to information, democratisation of public debate through online spaces, new ways for the state to engage with citizens and new ways for citizens to collaborate and engage in collective action.  
    • Threats involve the manipulation, cooptation and restriction of online spaces, including deeply problematic aspects of large internet companies' business models which inherently create conditions favourable to information pollution and fragmentation. In addition, digital tools can be used to further restrict spaces for citizen agency, particularly when applied to surveillance in contexts with a weak rule of law.
  • Technological development with profound impacts is taking place with limited democratic oversight. Global governance limitations often place the Global South at the receiving end of technology developed in the Global North, and powered by data gathered there (which may leave it with Global North biases).Sometimes the Global South even serves as experimental grounds for new technologies with extractive purposes.
  • UNDP can play a critical role on many levels, including:
    • Facilitating policy dialogue on the type of safeguards that are needed to ensure digital technology development aligns with human rights standards.
    • Creating spaces for more meaningful and inclusive public input and accountability in relation to digital technology, such as through participatory technology assessments.
    • Supporting public institutions in incorporating digital solutions in their processes to promote greater access to information, including supporting open data and meaningful citizen participation.
    • Supporting civil society actors in incorporating digital solutions in their work to promote peace and sustainable development.
    • Support the voices and opinions of the marginalised, such as youth networks and women rights organizations.

Information pollution is the spread of false, misleading, and manipulated content, both online and offlinewhether shared deliberately or inadvertently. It generally falls into three categories. Firstly, disinformation, which is false information purposely created to damage an individual, social group, organisation, or country. Secondly, misinformation, which, while also false, isn't crafted with the intent to cause harm. Lastly, mal-information, which manipulates real facts with the express purpose of inflicting harm on a person, organisation, or country. Two other relevant concepts are hate speech and propaganda. Hate speech, defined as targeted communication based on an individual's or group's identity, often intertwines with information pollution. They are governed differently under law but both require strategic interventions for effective mitigation. Propaganda is a coordinated campaign influencing public opinion, frequently incorporates information pollution as a tactic, necessitating engagement with relevant actors and appropriate policy responses for its management.

  • Combating information pollution and supporting promotion of information integrity particularly during elections, crisis or conflict is a key concern for UNDP and its partners globally.  
  • UNDP is deploying digital tools and supporting data literacy efforts among other means of promoting a healthy information environment: These allow for better understanding of online and offline narratives, monitoring of information trends and patterns and greater public access to correct, timely information. iVerify is one such example.
  • Information integrity in elections is critical, and UNDP leads a global coalition in this space: Elections are particularly susceptible to organised and coordinated information operations intended to delegitimise Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and electoral processes, artificially promote candidates and disenfranchise voters. Due to a marked increase in concern on this issue across Member States, UNDP has launched in 2022 a global Action Coalition on information integrity in elections, aiming to elevate best practices in the use of technology to complement other programming in this field. Initially established as part of the Danish Government Tech for Democracy initiative, the Action Coalition on Information Integrity in Elections convenes global experts in the fields of elections, information integrity, media, etc. to identify collectively what works.
  • UNDP is the largest implementor of UN electoral assistance: According to figures from OECD, between 2003 and 2020, UNDP was the largest provider of electoral assistance overall, with a quarter of all official development assistance (ODA) for elections being channelled through UNDP.  
  • UNDP's support in introducing digital technologies to electoral processes focuses on increasing trust, transparency, accountability and inclusion: Such focus helps ensure the process is accepted, credible, peaceful and reflects the will of the people.
  • To keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, parliaments need to prioritise their own digital transformation, developing a portfolio of digital tools to boost best practice in engagement support, business continuity and efficiency.
  • Digital transformation of parliaments can promote transparency, increase accessibility, support deliberation on complex matters and reduce carbon footprints: Examples include, among other, broadcasting proceedings, digitising submissions and bills and using technology to collate and analyse bulk information.  
  • The speed and accessibility of interaction in the digital age have profoundly changed the nature and expectation of public engagement: Elected representatives are now expected to communicate, listen, and engage on an ongoing basis.
  • UNDP supports parliaments worldwide to enhance their ability to respond to public expectations for transparency, accountability and meaningful participation: This is done by providing critical ICT resources and platforms that facilitate public engagement in legislative processes.
  • UNDP acknowledges the transformative potential of AI, particularly its ability to enhance access to public services and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government, in addition to supporting wide-scale behavioural change and enabling individuals to make pivotal, data-driven decisions.
  • However, UNDP also sees an urgent need to address AI’s potential risks and harm, and challenges that undermine the protection of human rights. Some risks posed by AI systems include the use of facial recognition for mass surveillance, algorithmic bias, a lack of transparency resulting in an absence of fairness, infringements on privacy, and the misuse of data. Data collected and analysed in non-transparent and non-inclusive ways can lead to discriminatory outcomes, with particularly negative consequences for minorities and marginalised groups, including women from different backgrounds. AI-driven systems can also undermine the right to privacy and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, AI-driven systems can infringe on the right to privacy and fundamental freedoms, as AI-powered de-anonymisation tools may  disclose personal data and track people across devices in private and public spaces.  
  • UNDP takes an intentionally inclusive approach which brings together not just governments and businesses but also civil society, academia, and citizens. With 2.7 billion people offline, 95% of whom reside in developing countries, this human-centred approach highlights the necessity to leave no one behind. This is particular relevant for women, as existing gender social norms and biases keep the gender digital divide as one of the most pervasive, with only 65 young women accessing the internet for every 100 young men. Digital technologies can even exacerbate these biases if not taken into account in product design and development. UNDP is developing an AI Readiness Assessment to help governments understand the current state of AI adoption through multi-stakeholder engagement, including with marginalised groups.  
  • The key challenges brought by AI to democracy and human rights relate to its impact on state capacity, inherent biases and opacity of development processes, democratic oversight, and regulatory capacity.
  • Whilst efforts have been made globally to address AI’s risks and harms, governments still struggle to effectively mitigate them. Recognising that digital technology is not a panacea, UNDP’s Digital Strategy envisions a world where ‘digital is an empowering force for people and planet’. UNDP’s observations and interactions with governments have underlined the urgent need for governance,  ethics and rights-based guidance on data and AI use.  
  • UNDP is part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on AI (IAWG-AI), which, under UNESCO’s leadership, has put forward guidance on the ethical principles on AI. These principles include compliance with international and human rights law, including the right to privacy, fairness and non-discrimination, and data responsibility. This means, among other things, that people should have the right not to be subject to decisions based solely on automated processing, including profiling, and have the ability to appeal to a human-led process.
  • UNDP is committed to building capacity, awareness and understanding of governments, parliaments and decision makers about AI technologies, governance and the value of data. To address this critical issue, UNDP and ITU have launched a Joint Facility for Digital Capacity Development for those underserved by existing efforts, ensuring that AI adoption benefits all while upholding human rights principles.

Opportunities and risks

This segment outlines the society-level opportunities and risks associated with digital transformations in the context of efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. These can be used as a basis for forming programme-level theories of change, and to better inform programme teams.  

Underpinned by a responsible, rights-based approach and data protection; innovation, particularly digitalization, can enhance policy making for more sustainable and inclusive societal benefits, ensuring that advancements foster not just progress, but equitable progress that respects individual rights and protections.

  • Data analysis and visualisation: Digital technologies allow for the collection, analysis and visualisation of vast amounts of data, enabling policymakers to make more informed decisions and people to have more evidence-based views. By using data analysis tools, policymakers and other actors can identify trends, patterns and relationships that might not be clear otherwise. They can also use data visualisation tools to communicate complex information in a more accessible and compelling way.
  • People’s engagement: Digital technologies provide opportunities for policymakers to engage with people more effectively. Social media platforms, online forums and other digital tools can be used to ask for feedback, gather opinions and involve people in the policymaking process. This can help to increase transparency, inclusiveness, accountability and legitimacy.
  • Collaborative policy development: Digital technologies can facilitate collaboration among policymakers, experts, and stakeholders. Online platforms and tools can be used to share information, co-create policy solutions, collaborate on documents, and discuss policy proposals. This can help generate more innovative and effective policy solutions.
  • Real-time monitoring: Digital technologies can enable policymakers to monitor policy implementation in real-time, allowing them to respond quickly to emerging issues
  • “Modelling for the people”: Increased computational capacity can be used for microsimulations to promote better informed public debate. This can drive more complete consideration of trade-offs inherent in each policy choice.
  • Foresight and scenario planning: Innovative policymaking can incorporate digital tools and methods for anticipating future trends, risks and opportunities, enabling policymakers to proactively address emerging challenges and capitalise on new possibilities in the digital landscape. By using data-driven analysis, predictive modelling and simulations, policymakers can better understand signals and potential scenarios and make well-informed decisions for a digitally-driven yet uncertain future.
  • Digital technologies can increase access to information: Digital technologies can lead to easier access to information on issues of public concern as well as democratisation of content creation . Accessible information can lead to increased accountability, transparency and, therefore, credibility of institutions such as (Parliaments.
  • Easy access to existing examples can inspire others: Platforms like eyeWitness or Wikipedia include examples of civil society actors integrating technology to develop new business models and achieve deeper impact.

Digitalization can enhance people’s participation and feedback mechanisms
Civic participation and engagement (in particular of youth, women and vulnerable groups) can be increased via:

  • New spaces to access information and debate matters of public interest: Digitalization, the internet, and social media have opened new avenues for accessing information and engaging in public debates. By providing a multitude of channels, these platforms enable alternative perspectives to reach a wider audience, fostering a more diverse and inclusive discourse.
  • New ways for people to collaborate with each other and engage in collective action: Digitalization has created new venues for citizen mobilisation and collaboration. For example, online volunteering has emerged as a powerful mechanism for individuals to contribute to causes that matter to them, even across borders. In addition, digital platforms have played a role in organising and mobilising protests and social movements. These new approaches have empowered people to take a more active role in shaping their societies, further enriching the democratic process.
  • New ways for the state to engage with people: Digital technology can be used to improve relations between people and the state.  Digitalization can also facilitate the implementation of e-petition systems, simplifying the process for citizens to express their preferences on policy matters and participate in decision-making processes. Furthermore, digital tools can help in organising virtual town halls and public consultations, enabling people to participate in discussions and debates on important issues without the constraints of time or location.

Digitalization can improve parliamentary processes

  • Increased transparency: Digital technologies can help to increase transparency in parliamentary processes by providing access to information and data in real time. This can help to promote accountability and democratic participation, as citizens can better understand how their representatives are making decisions and how they can contribute .
  • Enhanced communication: Digital technologies can also enhance communication between parliamentarians and their constituents, making it easier for citizens to engage with their representatives.
  • Improved efficiency: Digital technologies can enhance parliamentary processes by enabling virtual participation for MPs and other stakeholders through video conferencing, particularly during emergencies or crises. This promotes increased participation and inclusivity. Furthermore, digitalization streamlines the legislative process by allowing for online submission and management of bills, amendments, and other documents, reducing the reliance on physical paperwork and minimizing the carbon footprints of parliaments. Electronic voting enables MPs to cast their votes more quickly and efficiently, and makes recording and tracking easier.
  • Increased access: Digital technologies can also increase access to parliamentary processes for marginalised communities, such as people with disabilities, women and minorities. For example, digital technologies can provide captioning or sign language interpretation for parliamentary proceedings, making them more accessible to people with hearing or visual impairments.
  • Design and product engineering devoid of a human-centred approach can negatively impact societies: There are multiple ways in which implementing new digital technologies in democratic institutions and processes can negatively impact societies:
    • Exclusion and discrimination: Design and product engineering that do not consider the needs and perspectives of diverse populations can lead to exclusion and discrimination and create or broaden an existing digital divide. For example, if a product is designed without considering the needs of people with disabilities it could inadvertently exclude them from accessing the product or service. How the product is designed also influences how population perceives that the target audience is. Given existing stereotypes and gender social norms, product design may exclude women implictly if gender social norms and stereotypes are not taken into account, or the product may reinforce such stereotypes. Designing products that require high-speed internet access or advanced devices can exacerbate the digital divide, leaving those without access to such technology further behind. Over-reliance on digital technologies without simultaneously providing alternative means of participation in democratic processes could, in the context of persistent digital gaps, lead to disenfranchising already marginalised groups.
    • Privacy and surveillance: Products and services that are not designed with privacy and security in mind can put individuals' personal data at risk. This can have severe implications for human rights and democracy, increasing surveillance and censorship and limiting freedom fo expression and association.
    • Algorithmic bias and opacity: Algorithms used in products and services that are not designed with a human-centred approach can perpetuate and amplify existing biases and discrimination. For example, an algorithm used in a hiring process that is not designed with diversity and inclusion in mind can lead to biased hiring practices that perpetuate inequality. Furthermore, opaque algorithms create a situation where an individual's right to know why a decision was made cannot be honoured because the decisionmaking process is not transparent.
    • Manipulation and disinformation: Technology products and services designed to cater to user preferences may unintentionally contribute to the spread of disinformation and manipulation. Algorithms can create echo chambers by prioritizing users' likes and interests which can pose a threat to information integrity. There is a need to strike a balance between addressing user needs and preferences and implementing regulations and safeguards to protect democratic governance and maintain public trust in institutions.  
    • Autonomy and control: Products and services that do not prioritise user autonomy and control can lead to individuals being coerced or forced into making decisions they may not have otherwise made. This can have significant implications for human rights.
    • Apathy and disengagement: promoting participation in the form of digital platforms without appropriate support to translate 'voice' into policy 'action' can fuel disillusionment and disengagement as people lose confidence in the point of participation.
  • Digitalization can lead to higher surveillance and targeting of opposition voices, particularly activists and journalists: New tools can be used to stifle free expression through methods such as internet shutdowns, content takedowns and 'throttling' (the intentional slowing down of internet service by an Internet service provider (ISP)).  

    Increasingly, surveillance and harassment are concerns for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), media personnel and activists. Targeted online harassment, especially against women, contributes significantly to their exclusion from political discussions. Such misuse of digital tools exacerbates gender inequality and hinders the progress towards inclusive political and societal conversations.  

  • A growing industry of disinformation for hire is a risk to democratic institutions and processes: Information manipulation services destabilise and undermine opposition groups, governments, policymaking and elections. The investment in technical capacities of “bad actors” often exceeds the budgets of governments and civil society organisations in the global south, highlighting a potential imbalance in resources and influence.
  • Regulation by governments rationalised as combatting “disinformation” can infringe fundamental human rights and further shrink civic space: This may lead to increased censorship, limiting freedom of expression which is essential for democratic societies.

    The digital divide, which encompasses disparities in digital access between various demographics, including a significant gender digital divide, can result in fresh forms of exclusion from participating in the public sphere. Unequal digital capabilities mean that certain sections of society may lack access to crucial information, be unable to express their viewpoints effectively or even be barred from participating in digital discourses.

    Moreover, threats to internet neutrality, the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally, can skew public debates. If service providers are allowed to favour certain types of content or services over others, for instance by providing faster access to certain sites, it creates an unbalanced playing field. This imbalance can privilege the voices of those with more resources or influence. This distortion not only widens the digital divide but also threatens the principle of democratic equality in the digital public sphere. Hence, efforts to bridge the digital divide and uphold internet neutrality are crucial to fostering an inclusive and balanced digital public sphere.  

  • Internet platforms are functioning as private regulators of public spaces: Large internet platforms effectively function as private, profit-driven regulators within predominantly public spaces, raising serious concerns regarding access to information and freedom of expression. Ethical concerns also exist in relation to the attention economy and the business model of large internet companies, which can contribute to information pollution, fragmentation and the spread of hate speech.
  • Absence of proper regulation of digital advertising can have highly problematic consequences for public debate: For example, microtargeting can create echo chambers where people are only exposed to information that reinforces their existing beliefs and biases, and can be used to manipulate people's emotions and beliefs, by delivering messages that are specifically designed to trigger certain psychological responses.
  • Digitalization and reduced trust in the electoral process: When voters cannot fully comprehend digital voting systems or physically see their vote being cast and counted as with traditional methods, it can lead to apprehension about the validity of the process.  

    Further compounding this issue is the politicisation of digitalization, which can significantly undermine the authenticity of both pre- and post-electoral activities. If digital technologies are perceived to be manipulated by certain political factions, or if such allegations are spread, it can shake public trust. This can have serious repercussions, such as decreasing voter turnout due to public disaffection or even triggering political instability. Therefore, transparent implementation of digital electoral processes, robust security measures, and public education about digital voting systems are vital to maintaining electoral integrity.

  • The use of digital technologies in parliaments can create cybersecurity risks: Inadequate security measures for these technologies could leave them vulnerable to hacking and other cyber-attacks. This could lead to the theft of sensitive data, manipulation of democratic processes and other harmful consequences.  

Programming suggestions

Digital programming has emerged as a powerful tool in strengthening democratic institutions and processes. However, it is essential to note that an emphasis on digital-centric solutions should not overshadow the primary objective of enhancing accountability, inclusiveness and effectiveness. A holistic view necessitates considering a broad range of alternatives, of which digital solutions are just one part. As such, while this section primarily discusses digital programming and its potentials, it simultaneously emphasizes the need to remain flexible and evaluate different methods to achieve our goals. It is important to recognize the unique advantages that digitization provides in certain circumstances - digital programming is a vital tool, but not an end in itself.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes encompasses a broad array of programmatic approaches, project decisions and capacity strengthening goals. Below, we highlight three areas with particular relevance to a whole-of-society approach to this issue. However, this does not discount the relevance of the other elements of UNDP’s Digital Strategy. We recommend that you explore the Digital Development Compass in order to consider how those in contexts similar to your own have approached these issues.  

Digital public services and platforms  

This section focuses on ways of working within government institutions on technological adoption in relation to support democratic governance.The following are broad suggestions:

  • Link civil registries to voters’ lists and support open government by facilitating data exchange between different ministries.  
  • Introduce biometric technologies to voter registration, giving due regard to the privacy, security and exclusion risks of doing so.
  • Introduce digital solutions to increase transparency of electoral management bodies – e.g., platforms for citizens (voter) engagement and information gathering from the public,, development of websites and the use of social media for information spreading.
  • Introduce digital platforms to monitor, prevent and respond to electoral related violence (see for example iReport).
  • Use social media platforms to disseminate accurate and up-to-date information about voter registration, voting procedures, deadlines and any relevant changes to election laws. Share resources such as government websites, voter guides, and educational materials to help people understand the voting process.
  • Use digital platforms to increase knowledge and participation of youth in decision making processes (see for example iParticipate and Agora).  
  • Use digital platforms as part of a broader range of interventions to counter disinformation during electoral processes (see for example
    iVerify and eMonitor) while ensuring that key local stakeholders are trained on fact-checking processes and approaches.
  • Build the capacities of public sector entities– e.g., through the creation of digital platforms for citizen engagement and the adoption of digital solutions to advance the open data agenda.
  • Strengthen the capacity of government institutions in digital communication strategies, which is a critical investment in enabling them to engage effectively with an online audience. Understanding and responding to online habits and behaviours can ensure that institutional communication is more readily accessible and understandable online.  
  • Develop digital platforms that support civic engagement with parliamentarians at key parts of the legislative process – e.g., in select committee consideration, in government consultation on policy.
  • Promote the digitisation of parliamentary debate and procedures to support the transparency and effectiveness of decision making.
  • Promote the use of broadcasting channels to support the transparency of legislative procedure to the public, e.g., televised proceedings, radio broadcasting, web streaming and online archiving of plenary and committee sessions’ recordings.
  • Promote the use of technology to mitigate the inability of parliament to meet in person due to natural disaster, pandemic, or other significant events.
  • Support digital readiness assessments of parliamentary and other democratic institutions and development of actionable digitalization strategies.
  • Sensitise MPs to key digitalization issues, opportunities, risks and approaches and their role in supporting creation of an enabling environment for inclusive and rights-based digital public infrastructure and the digitalization of government operations and public services, overseeing implementation and identifying and addressing risks.

Cultural norms and digital literacy skills  

This section focuses on digital wellbing issues such as understanding and mitigating harm inflicted by digital such as addiction, cyber bullying, online GBV, disinformation or physical impacts; as well as the ability to use digital technology for all parts of society (all regions, age groups, genders); particularly the traditionally marginalised (refugees and migrants, women and youth, persons with disabilities and special needs, older people). The following are broad suggestions:  

  • Provide online digital literacy trainings – e.g., e-learnings, via radio programmes, television shows.
  • Engage with national authorities and the private sector to promote an environment for developing digital technology that supports civic engagement, including through the systematic promotion of open-source approaches.
  • Strengthen digital literacy of civil society actors and build their capacity to integrate digital solutions in their work to pursue the sustainable development goals in a more effective and inclusive fashion.  
  • Create spaces for public input and accountability in relation to technology development and application, including through the development of dedicated processes and capacity for participatory technology assessments.
  • Carry out awareness raising and education campaigns on user rights in the context of large internet platforms, with a specific focus on the rights to access to information and freedom of expression.
  • Conduct online monitoring and sentiment analysis, which can provide valuable real-time data on emerging narratives, prominent disinformation content, amplifiers of harmful content and public opinion. These efforts can be embedded in Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), academic institutions, government bodies and others depending on the local context.
  • Set up or support online crowdsourced knowledge hubs for journalists, activists and others, which can provide opportunities for creating shared understanding of current events and reduce polarisation in the media sector, particularly during controversial or strategic political processes.  
  • Provide support to independent media, including to develop and keep a strong online audience. This can end detrimental “news vacuums” which are often filled by pseudo-news providers and rumour. This is particularly true at the local news and community media level.  
  • Provide policy support to institutionalise data and internet literacy in the education system.  

Emerging technologies and cybersecurity

This section focuses on standards and guidelines for emerging technology and specifically the use of artificial intelligence, security standards and risk management, cybercrime, content filtering and breach notifications. The following are broad suggestions:  

  • Develop general guidelines and training to government, parliament and other stakeholders on digital ethical standards and cybersecurity.
  • Promote policy dialogue and reform on the necessary safeguards to prevent the utilisation of digital tools to undermine civil liberties – including dialogue on preventing unjustified and indiscriminate surveillance, online censorship, and internet shutdowns.  
  • Provide support to lawmakers to improve digital and internet literacy and strengthen capacity to develop smart and durable digital policy. Many policy makers do not have sufficient understanding of the online space and digital technologies to successfully craft effective policy in this field. It is now a “must-have” skillset to ensure they are equipped to respond adequately to the many challenges of digital information ecosystems without infringing on human rights.


To support the transformations above it is important to consider key stakeholders for strengthening democratic institutions and processes in and outside of the country context. These should be engaged to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of efforts and recommendations listed above.

  • Parliaments and Parliamentary Organisations
    Parliaments are key stakeholders in creating enabling environment for inclusive and rights-based digital transformation, overseeing the implementation of strategies and policies, leveraging digital technologies for better representation and meaningful engagement of citizens and to helping increase trust by using digital technologies to foster transparency and accountability. In addition to national parliaments, regional and international organisations of parliaments or parliamentarians, and related resources,  such as the Inter Parliamentary Union, Commonwealth Parliamentarians Association, Parliamentarians for Global Action and Agora Portal for Parliamentary Development can play a crucial role in providing policy advocacy, capacity building, knowledge sharing, technical assistance and networking support to parliaments and help increase the impact and sustainability of digital technology projects.
  • Governments
    National and local governments are key stakeholders in the design of programmes to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. They have a pivotal role to play in implementing policies and regulations that promote democratic governance, and they can provide important insights into the challenges and opportunities of digital technologies in this context.  
  • Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs)
    Electoral Management Bodies are key players in managing electoral activities, such as determining voter eligibility, validating nominations, conducting polling andcounting and tabulating votes. EMBs can have different titles and structures, and their responsibilities vary from country to country. They are central in the introduction of new digital technologies in all phases of the electoral process.
  • Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
    Civil society organisations, including non-governmental organisations and thinktanks, advocacy groups and media outlets, play a key role in promoting democratic governance and holding governments accountable. They can provide important perspectives on the impact of digital technologies on democracy and human rights and can help build public support for programmes aimed at strengthening democratic institutions. Key civil society actors working globally on the links between civic space and digital transformation are the International Centre for Not-for-profit Law, CIVICUS and Access Now.
  • Academia and Research Institutions
    Academia and research institutions can provide critical insights into the social, political and economic implications of digital technologies for democratic governance. They can also contribute to the development of evidence-based policies and programmes that promote democratic institutions and processes.  
  • Private Sector
    The private sector, including technology companies and service providers, have a significant impact on digital technologies' development and use, and in promoting responsible digital technologies that support democratic governance.  
  • Media
    Media outlets play a crucial role in informing the public, promoting transparency and supporting democratic processes. They contribute to the discourse on the impact of digital technologies on democracy and human rights, while also raising awareness and building public support for initiatives that strengthen democratic institutions.

Programming examples  


Ágora is a methodology devised by UNDP that allows citizens to participate in national development and in local governments through the use of digital technology.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes
Tus derechos en Internet

Tus derechos en Internet (“Your rights on the Internet”). Your Rights on the Internet is a digital campaign that aims to inform and educate about the terms of service and community standards for content moderation on three of the main Internet social networks (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) and their impact on the right to freedom of expression online.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

iReport. The iReport system, developed by UNDP in collaboration with the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC), aims to empower national actors, including electoral management bodies, human rights commissions, ministries and civil society organizations, by strengthening early warning and early response systems during elections and beyond. It serves as an adaptable mechanism that effectively addresses various risks and incidents based on the specific needs and priorities of national actors. The iReport system has been utilized in monitoring electoral violence, violence against women in elections and politics, human rights violations, natural disasters, health hazards and more. Its implementation is guided by principles of non-duplication, a multi-stakeholder approach and sustainability, with the support of UNDP contingent upon an in-depth assessment mission.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

iParticipate. The iParticipate platform has the overall objective of fostering citizen participation in the electoral process, with a special emphasis on youth participation, by offering an interactive and dynamic digital platform that brings the electoral process closer to those that will be voting for their future.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

Understanding online information pollution is an urgent global challenge. Disinformation and hate speech threaten peace and security, disproportionately affecting those who are already vulnerable. iVerify is a fact-checking tool that can be used to identify false information and publish verified stories. It is supported in UNDP by the Chief Digital Office and the Governance Team. The initiative has been implemented in African countries such as Zambia, Kenya, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and in Honduras, Latin America, specifically to support information integrity during elections. Notably, iVerify continues to operate beyond elections, maintaining ongoing information accuracy and reliability. iVerify is also a Digital Public Good and can be found in the DPG Registry.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

eMonitor+. The eMonitor+ platform is a UNDP suite of digital tools designed to combat information pollution globally. The platform uses AI-driven tools to monitor and analyze online content and identify issues such as hate speech, misinformation, online violence against women, political polarization and electoral violations. eMonitor+ relies on different AI models such as sentiment analysis, topic classification, hate speech analysis and reverse image/video source verification, among others. The platform has been deployed in Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, and Peru, in partnership with national election commissions, media authorities and civil society organizations. Besides AI, eMonitor+ incorporates manual analysis by trained monitors, ensuring a comprehensive approach to addressing harmful content. Data from eMonitor+ is displayed on an online platform and dashboard, which can be disseminated to inform citizens and enable UNDP and national partners to develop effective data-driven strategies and action plans.

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

RedPublica. UNDP Peru – in alliance with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, the School of Government and Public Policy of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the National Secretariat for Youth, Civil Association Transparency, the Pacific University and RPP Group – has developed Redpublica, a portfolio of digital and hybrid solutions that aim to reshape state-public relationships in the country, facilitating i) the portrayal of the views and values of civil society in public debate about post-pandemic recovery and ii) the development of safe digital civic spaces tailored for innovative solution-making.  

Strengthening democratic institutions and processes

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