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Democratic and Inclusive Governance

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We champion research and innovation that supports inclusive, accountable, and transparent governance. We work towards empowering vulnerable people and communities to claim their rights and shape the policies and practices that affect their lives.

Fostering equality through civic engagement

Safe, open, and inclusive civic spaces are needed so people can hold governments to account and mobilize to make their voices heard. In recent years, some hard-fought gains in democratic governance worldwide have been reversed, with civic spaces in many countries now shrinking or having closed.

This trend spotlights how digital technologies can offer new opportunities for civil society engagement. But digital technologies come with a risk: they can jeopardize democracy and inclusion by marginalizing already vulnerable groups, by providing platforms for false information, which leads to mistrust, and by surveilling legitimate activism and community organizing. 

IDRC is working to improve civic-space engagement by supporting research organizations, governments, and civil society to be more resilient to democratic crises. This includes providing and promoting the use of research and evidence to back up the idea that governance is best served when it is accountable to its people. Our partners’ research and evidence address marginalization and misinformation, support gender equality and inclusion, and drive governance innovation. 

Legal empowerment

Accountable, transparent governance is facilitated when all people have access to impartial justice. To address the widening justice gap developing around the world, the Centre’s research focusses on identifying and promoting locally driven community initiatives that increase legal empowerment and make the law work for those who need it the most. 

Empowering the forcibly displaced

Amidst global mass migration, IDRC funds research that supports forcibly displaced populations as well as the communities that host them. Our work aims to increase social cohesion, protect the rights of migrants, provide migrants with access to livelihoods, and counter the negative effects of discriminatory legal status. We also aim to support host countries to develop and implement programs and plans that counter gender and other discrimination against immigrant, migrant, and refugee populations.

Explore research projects that we support:

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