Recent protests in places as varied as Hong Kong, Bolivia and Iraq remind us that people worldwide value the right to hold their leaders accountable and to freely speak their mind. Yet democracy can offer more than these civil liberties. Compared to their autocratic counterparts, democratically elected politicians deliver better development outcomes, such as lower infant mortality rates or higher literacy. Democracy fosters development. In this policy brief, we present trends in democratic governance among Norway’s 17 partner countries over the past two decades. While there is no general trend common to all 17 countries, civil liberties have been increasingly restricted, especially among the long-term development partners. Further, political turmoil in several of these countries in 2021 creates new uncertainty about the prospects for democracy.