In the Democratic Republic of the Congo's province of Kasai Oriental, women lead a civic and voter education session with USAID support in preparation for historic national elections. USAID
The U.S. government views democratic governance and human rights as critical for sustainable development and lasting peace in a society. Countries cannot advance from conflict to peace, fragility to strength, and poverty to prosperity without inclusive, effective democratic institutions. The issues of authoritarianism, poor governance, disasters, conflict and poverty are inextricably linked. The 2011 World Development Report concluded that countries weak in government effectiveness, rule of law, and control of corruption have a 30 to 45 percent higher risk of civil war and significantly higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries.
The Department of State and USAID work with political and civil society leaders to support the emergence of civic norms and leadership that uphold the rule of law, reject corruption, and advance human rights. These programs assist in building key domestic institutions of democratic accountability such as vibrant civil societies, free and independent media, free and fair electoral processes, strong legislatures, and independent judiciaries. Recognizing that broad-based inclusive development is crucial for the achievement of lasting democracy and peace, the Department and USAID ensure that human rights and gender equality are integrated throughout their work, and are bolstering efforts to address the needs of marginalized populations such as survivors of torture and war and people with disabilities. At the same time, the Department and USAID continue to combat human trafficking and promote labor and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights, and increase support for human-rights defenders and human-rights commissions.
The Department and USAID allocated $3.225 billion toward this Strategic Goal in FY 2012, which is six percent of the total State-USAID budget supporting all strategic goals. The performance of the illustrative indicators is provided in the following section.