Democracy support needs to be interdisciplinary and process oriented in order to be efficient. However, at present, a panoply of actors and instruments are working in parallel fields and levels to support democracy, often without an overall perspective. Under its knowledge hub function, the EPD aims at facilitating an exchange of experience and lessons learned amongst practitioners form different sectors of the democracy support community so that they can learn from each other and find common solutions from an inclusive and holistic approach to democracy support.
The EPD Knowledge Hub actively searches for and disseminates the available lessons learned with the associated organisations on various topics and regions. The main tools under the Knowledge Hub are Knowledge Sharing Meetings and the prior dissemination of position papers about the theme to be addressed at the meeting, using relevant policy documents, research findings and case studies. In follow-up of these meetings the joint writing of position papers or research proposals can be facilitated by the EPD Secretariat, which can provide overviews of relevant policy documents and a list of must-read literature.
The EPD website and modern multi-media tools support the Knowledge Sharing processes on the basis of which opportunities for collaboration, can be identified.
The three objectives of the EPD Knowledge Hub function
The sharing of learned lessons amongst democracy support organisations from Europe is an important instrument to strengthen the European efforts in world-wide democracy assistance. Under this function, the EPD encourages and supports associated organizations to share an emerging body of lessons learned, filtering experiences from democracy assistance practices. The purpose is to better understand what colleague-organizations are doing in the field, to avoid overlap and to identify blanks.
The methods for assessing democracy assistance are underdeveloped in more than one respect. Considerable conceptual and methodological difficulties stand in the way of achieving more scientifically verifiable knowledge about them and understanding the connections with actual political change. Under its Knowledge Hub function, the EPD aims to contribute to the development of parameters and methodologies for assessing the impact of democracy assistance. More thorough assessments can further upgrade the methodologies in democracy assistance. The EPD Knowledge Hub furthermore aims to contribute to the development of more common
European lexicon, where terms like democracy promotion, democracy support, democracy assistance, democracy aid, political development aid and so on are currently used without consensus on what these definitions mean. A great variety of activities are currently understood under the heading democracy assistance. The EPD would like to contribute to some clarity in the debate.