International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance International IDEA
2020 Outcome Report

Democracy in 2020Letter from the Secretary-General

At the beginning of 2020, few people could have accurately predicted the level of change and disruption that the year would bring us. The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has taken an abysmal toll on people across the globe, generating a global health, economic and political crisis, with repercussions that will be felt long after the pandemic is over.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, International IDEA rapidly shifted its priorities and working practices. The outcome stories in this report give an account of how the organization successfully inspired and supported democratic actors throughout these challenging times by developing and disseminating new knowledge, analysis and tools which our partners have utilized to adapt their practices, but also by creating a global coalition to defend democracy worldwide.

International IDEA was quick to recognize that the pandemic would have a serious impact on electoral processes.

As questions arose about whether or not to hold elections and how to use special voting arrangements, our talented staff swiftly produced knowledge products and tools to support election administrators around the world to adapt their practices.

Another serious concern was how government emergency responses to the pandemic would affect democracy and human rights, and how authoritarian regimes would use the pandemic as a pretext to further enhance their power. To enable democratic actors to hold policymakers to account, International IDEA developed a Global Monitor that continuously tracks the impact of Covid-19 measures on various aspects of democracy and human rights in 162 countries.

2020 not only changed what we worked on; it also affected how we work. The shift to digital meetings and knowledge resources was accelerated and helped to enhance the visibility and outreach of International IDEA’s work. The new challenges and threats to democracy, spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, also inspired us to create new alliances and partnerships in defence of democracy. Together with our partner organizations, International IDEA initiated a global advocacy campaign, the Call to Defend Democracy, which gathered a remarkable coalition of more than 70 democracy organizations.

The campaign was endorsed by 500 signatories, including former heads of state, Nobel prize laureates, thought leaders, academics, journalists and activists.
International IDEA’s 25th anniversary celebration, organized together with Sweden as the 2020 Council Chair, strengthened and developed these partnerships with our Member States, democracy experts, global policymakers, and representatives from civil society and youth in a series of 12 webinars.

Our transformative work in strengthening democracy will intensify in 2021. We will continue to develop our global partnerships and collaboration with Member States to defend, inspire and support democratic institutions worldwide. To help our partners develop their democratic practices, we will continue to produce cutting-edge, policy-friendly knowledge in our areas of expertise, but also develop new workstreams linked to issues such as disinformation and climate change. To be able to inspire more democratic organizations and actors worldwide, we will continue to increase our online activity by actively engaging in digital campaigns, webinars and online events. The launch of the third iteration of the Global State of Democracy report towards the end of 2021 will be one of the highlights of this year. We hope you will join us on this journey.

Kevin Casas-Zamora

S-G Signature

Photo: International IDEA/Malin Huusmann

Key activities in 2020

Project highlights

Outcome stories

Media impactKnowledge and expertise

In 2020, International IDEA enjoyed one of its most visible and impactful years with its swift and comprehensive reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially highlighting the impact on elections and leading the Call to Defend Democracy campaign. It helped set the agenda with policymakers and the media for a host of issues ranging from the US presidential election to Chile’s constitutional reform, special voting arrangements and gender quotas in Japan. International IDEA has appeared in some of the world’s leading media outlets with citations from our work, expert commentary and opinion pieces.

4247 71 %

National media mentions

Our experts share insights on democracy, elections and political participation with Swedish audience

Our partnerships Memoranda of understanding, grant agreements and strategic partnership agreements

Name of project



  • Incremento de la transparencia y la confianza pública sobre la gestión de las elecciones generales del 2020

European Union

Bolivia/Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Support to emerging democratic governance and PLGSP effectiveness

Department for International Development

Nepal/Asia and the Pacific

  • CANDI dat@s – Promotion of informed vote


Bolivia/Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Supporting the AGORA Portal for Parliamentary Development

Westminster Foundation for Development

PPR/Global Programmes

  • Global Monitor of Covid-19’s Impact on Democracy and Human Rights

European Union

DA/Global Programmes

  • Incremento de la transparencia y la confianza pública sobre la gestión del ciclo electoral correspondiente a las elecciones generales de 2020 y subnacionales de 2021

Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation

Bolivia/Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Study on the Long-Term Effectiveness of Electoral Assistance Approaches


EP/Global Programmes

  • Supporting Sudan’s Democratic Transition

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

Sudan/Africa and West Asia

  • Fortalecimiento de la capacidad de gestión de los procesos electorales el OEP

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Bolivia/Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Supporting accountable democratic governance and active citizenry in Kenya

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands

Kenya/Africa and West Asia

  • Asistencia Técnica para el fortalecimiento del TE Panamá 2021-2022

The Electoral Tribunal of Panama

Panama/Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Supporting Mali’s Transition to Peace and Democracy

Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Mali/Africa and West Asia

  • Informed Peruvian civil society contributes to the implementation of the recommendations of the EOM of the EU 2020

European Union

Peru/Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Support to Women Participation in Constitution-making in South Sudan

Department for International Development

South Sudan/Africa and West Asia

  • Indigenous People’s Champions for the Philippines

European Union

Philippines/Asia and the Pacific

  • Promoting Good Governance in Bhutan

European Union

Bhutan/Asia and the Pacific

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