The Direct Democracy Navigator is the world's largest online database for Direct Democracy currently documenting around 2.000 instruments of direct democracy in more than 100 countries on the national, regional and local levels.
Direct democracy is becoming increasingly important worldwide as a way of political decision-making. This increases the need for information among citizens and the interest of the media. The success or failure of political participation is largely determined by the formal rules of participatory instruments. The question of democratic empowerment is therefore also a question of knowledge and resources. As with other (scientific) topics, however, access to well-founded information about the rules of direct democracy is not readily available.
Against this background, the Direct Democracy Navigator was founded out of civil society. The main ambition of the Navigator is to make an important contribution to the democratization of knowledge about power and politics in contemporary democracies. Basic research and expert knowledge on direct democracy are to contribute to the further development of democratic co-determination in a comprehensible and transparent way. Democracy knowledge is provided for with the claim not to conduct science only for science, but to be publicly accessible and comprehensible. With its open access strategy and independent expertise on the topic of direct democracy, the Direct Democracy Navigator addresses actors from civil society and the media. Since 2010, a comprehensive dataset has been compiled with precision and consistency, currently containing around 2,000 legal forms of direct democracy in over 100 states.
In spring 2021, a new phase of this scientific information and education project has begun. The two hosting organizations, the Swiss Democracy Foundation based in Lucerne and Democracy International based in Cologne, are joined by the Liechtenstein Institute in Gamprin/Liechtenstein as a further partner. The Liechtenstein Institute's reputation in research on direct democracy will further strengthen the scientific orientation of the Direct Democracy Navigator and increase its visibility. The new cooperation serves to further develop the Direct Democracy Navigator for the requirements of the 2020s. The Direct Democracy Navigator is to become more visible and serve even more civil society, media and academia as an independent source of democracy knowledge. To this end, activities in the Direct Democracy Navigator's four main pillars (dataset, research, communication and networking) will be strengthened. The most important step was the creation of this new Internet presence.