The Americas Civic Empowerment Index, an unprecedented research developed by Humanitas360 and the Economist Intelligence Unit, was presented at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in Washington on May 14th. The event was attended by IADB’s president, Luis Alberto Moreno, as well as the Senior Global Director for Public Policy at The Economist Intelligence Unit, Leo Abruzzese. Among the attendees, were also the president of H360, Patrícia Villela Marino, and its vice-president, Piero Bonadeo.
During the event, institution representatives outlined some of the key findings of the index, which found that people’s perceptions of their civic empowerment are not always aligned with their country’s legislated rights or current levels of civic participation. The research was conducted in seven countries of the Americas, among them: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, United States and Venezuela. The event shed light on two important findings brought by the research: the low confidence of the population in government, as well as an increased participation in social demonstrations in all countries over the past 10 years.
According to Mr. Moreno, organizations like H360 play a growing role in the checks-and-balances systems of democratic countries: “Civic participation is at the heart of good governance,” he said. “Over the past decade, civil society organizations have played an important role in making governments more accountable. As this report rightly points out, they’ve become an essential component in functional democracies,” he added.
The index has also shown that even though Brazil has the highest levels of participation in petitions and demonstrations of any country in the Index, it also presents the lowest levels of satisfaction in access to services and perceived freedom of speech. Ms. Marino highlighted the importance of the revealed data during election times in Brazil: “Exposed to endemic corruption and drawn toward mistrust in politics, it is fundamental to make people in the Americas rethink the value of citizen participation as an essential pillar of democracy,” said Marino.