In June 2020, International IDEA made headlines around the world when it launched ‘A Call to Defend Democracy’, a global advocacy campaign in support of democracy following the detrimental consequences posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
International IDEA initiated the open letter and coordinated the campaign together with a coalition of democracy organizations from around the world. The letter was endorsed by more than 70 organizations and nearly 500 prominent personalities from 119 countries, including 62 former heads of state and government, 13 Nobel laureates, distinguished scholars, journalists and activists, creating an impressive global coalition of democracy supporters.
The campaign attracted media attention around the world and was covered in all major global outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, AFP, Le Monde, The Times of India and Al Jazeera. Incoming US President Joe Biden also referenced the campaign to millions of his followers on social media. As a result, the Call to Defend Democracy raised International IDEA’s profile and visibility, and strengthened the Institute’s collaboration and networks with key democracy-building organizations and think tanks.
As a follow-up to the open letter, the European Endowment for Democracy and International IDEA developed a policy paper called Global Democracy and Covid-19: Upgrading International Support. The paper highlights how some governments are using the public health crisis to further curtail democratic activities and provides recommendations for policymakers and civil society organizations to counteract the pandemic’s negative impacts on democracy.