The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide.
International IDEA is governed by its Council of Member States. The organization is governed by its Statutes, the latest of which entered into force November 2008. Membership in International IDEA is open to governments which demonstrate, by example in their own state, their commitment to the rule of law, human rights, the basic principles of democratic pluralism and strengthening democracy.
Supporting democracy worldwide
International IDEA is a global intergovernmental organization providing impartial expertise, support and training based on the latest research to countries, governments, political parties, civil society and citizens. Democracy is best tailored to the needs of a country and its citizens. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and it is a constant work in progress.
What International IDEA does
International IDEA works upon invitation to provide in-country support based on global comparative knowledge. They facilitate dialogue on issues of democracy and publish comparative data and knowledge for anyone to use to improve their democracy. They analyse this data and produce a number of tools that can be used to strengthen democratic institutions.
"To support sustainable democratic change through providing comparative knowledge, and assisting in democratic reform, and influencing policies and politics"
International IDEA believes that democracy is a universal human aspiration and an experience that is pursued and lived in different ways around the world. It comes in multiple forms. These forms are in constant evolution. There is no single and universally applicable model of democracy. There is no end point in improving democracy. Fundamentally, democracy is a system in which the government is controlled by the people and citizens are considered equals in the exercise of that control. Beyond the basic tenets of citizens’ choice and citizens’ political equality, the critical choices are best made and the quality of democracy is best gauged by those directly concerned: the citizens themselves. International IDEA systematically nurtures an open and pluralistic understanding of democracy. This is respectful of the national context, and is in line with the non-prescriptive and non-intrusive approach, as well as with the priorities set by national actors.
Comparative knowledge on democracy
International IDEA captures diverse experiences of democracy from the around globe. They assess their potential relevance across countries and regions to incorporate them into the expanding body of comparative knowledge on democracy. In the development of comparative knowledge, they explore the challenges to democratization posed by undemocratic regimes. They support and conduct research in areas that are highly relevant for policymaking or reform processes.
They seek to provide decision makers with accurate information on existing options and their likely implications. They make comparative experiences available to actors across the political and institutional spectrum. This facilitates inclusive processes in which political will for change can emerge. This enables them to help actors to address challenges presented by trends that may adversely impact on and threaten democracy. Through this they are also able to better understand and capture how economic dynamics and technological change affect democracy.
The efforts to support democratic change build on the convening potential. International IDEA facilitates dialogue at the country, expert and international levels.
At the country level, International IDEA engages at the request of governments, parliaments or constitutional/electoral bodies. As a convener and facilitator of dialogue at the country-level, we make knowledge-based policy options available to actors in national reform processes.
At the expert level, International IDEA convenes dialogues in order to improve the design and implementation of politics in support of democracy. This enables us to test and pilot the instruments and tools of such new policies.
At the international level, International IDEA engages in multilateral forums and initiatives to build global understanding and synergies on key democracy issues. This enhances the focus on democracy building within the broader international agenda, particularly peace building and state building.
Topics International IDEA covers:
- money in politics
- women, gender and diversity
- political parties and parliaments
- conflict and security
- state of democracy assessments
- regional organizations
What International IDEA offers:
- Free knowledge resources in various languages on their website
- Impartial information on how democracies work to help participate in the political process of every country
- In-depth data on voter turnout, electoral systems, gender quotas and political finance regulations
- Tools that can be used such as the Electoral Risk Management Tool
Democracy in action
Where International IDEA works
Africa and West Asia (AWA)
International IDEA works on constitutionalism, inter-party dialogue, electoral integrity, natural resource governance, youth participation and women’s representation.
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
International IDEA provides technical assistance to countries on the issues of accountability, money in politics and a democracy that delivers on public services.
Asia and the Pacific
International IDEA focuses on electoral and parliamentary support, constitution-building, money in politics, electoral observation support and citizen engagement.
This new programme will provide democratic reform, focusing on citizen participation, democratic accountability and money in politics.
European Union (EU)
This office works with EU institutions and contributes to enhanced partnerships with the EU and relevant democracy actors.
Permanent Observer to the United Nations (UN) The UN Observer Mission develops knowledge resources, engages with UN member states and cultivates networks of practitioners to advocate democracy perspectives in UN policies, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
International IDEA’s Member States are democracies and provide both political and financial support to the work of the organization. They are Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay. Japan has observer status.
International IDEA is governed by a council composed of its Member States and assisted by a Board of Advisers. Yves Leterme, former Prime Minister of Belgium, is the Secretary- General.
Council of Member States Chair
In 2016, the Council of Member States is chaired by Mongolia under the theme: “Learning from Democratic Transitions”. Mongolia and International IDEA are focusing on improving the modalities of elections, accountability and transparency, and citizens’ ownership of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Where is International IDEA