About International IDEA

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports democracy worldwide.
Strategy and Annual Review

International IDEA at a glance

Advancing democracy worldwide, as a universal human aspiration and an enabler of sustainable development, through support to the building, strengthening and safeguarding of democratic political institutions and processes at all levels.

International IDEA at a glance

Download our one-pager and discover facts about our many areas of work.  

What we offer

Learn why investing in International IDEA means investing in democracy.

Vision, Mission and Mandate

Advancing democracy worldwide, as a universal human aspiration and an enabler of sustainable development, through support to the building, strengthening and safeguarding of democratic political institutions and processes at all levels.

Our vision

A world in which everyone lives in inclusive and resilient democracies.

Our mission

International IDEA advances, promotes and protects sustainable democracy worldwide in consideration of human rights commitments through policy-relevant knowledge, capacity development, advocacy, and the convening of dialogues.

Our mandate

International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization (IGO) with an explicit mandate to support sustainable democracy worldwide. International IDEA combines a global presence based on a diverse membership, a feature that reinforces the legitimacy of its actions.

International IDEA has a Secretariat headed by a Secretary-General who is responsible to the Council of Member States. Our Secretary-General provides strategic leadership for the Institute, reports on the overall implementation of activities, represents the organization externally, and develops strong relations with Member States and other constituencies. The Secretary-General appoints staff to carry out the programmes of the organization.
Kevin Casas-Zamora
Kevin Casas-Zamora
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What we do

We develop, share and enable the use of comparative knowledge, assist in democratic reform, and influence policies and politics, focusing on six workstreams:

We also address the following issues as they relate to democracy: 

How we work

International IDEA’s working modalities include a virtuous cycle of four elements: knowledge production, capacity development, advocacy as well as convening of dialogues.

Knowledge - We produce and disseminate comparative knowledge, policy-relevant analysis, tools, communication products and data.
Capacity Development - We provide high-quality capacity development and training on democracy-building and reform processes.
Convening - As an impartial and trusted democracy assistance provider, we facilitate dialogues on democratic reform.
Advocacy - We protect and safeguard democracy when it is challenged by undemocratic and authoritarian forces.
Knowledge Capacity Development Convening of Dialogues Advocacy

History and Milestones

December 2023

France joins International IDEA as 35th Member State.

December 2023

Luxembourg assumes Chairship of International IDEA.

December 2023

Kevin Casas-Zamora appointed to second, 5-year term as International IDEA’s Secretary-General.

November 2023

Bedrocks of democracy under threat across the globe

October 2023

International IDEA launch the Myanmar Youth Democracy Academy Training course

June 2023

International IDEA & Switzerland reaffirm their partnership for democracy with four-year, 3.3-million-euro agreement

February 2023

International IDEA and the African Union Commission Renew Their Partnership and Commitment to Strengthen Democratic Governance in Africa

December 2022

International IDEA launched two new knowledge products under the Global State of Democracy Initiative: GSoD 2022 and Democracy Tracker.

September 2022

International IDEA inaugurates its office in Washington, D.C.

December 2021

International IDEA tracks Summit for Democracy commitments and launches resources portal.

March 2021

Launch of Women's Political Participation: Africa Barometer 2021 Report, a resource to assess progress over time in Women's Political Participation.

November 2020

To recognize its 25 years of supporting sustainable democracy worldwide, the International IDEA organized a global virtual conference focusing on defending, strengthening, and revitalizing democracy. 

September 2020

International IDEA launches the regional declaration titled "Let Us Take Care of Democracy Lest it Fall Victim to the Pandemic". 

July 2020

Our New Global Monitor tracks impact of COVID-19 on democracy and human rights.

June 2020

"A Call to Defend Democracy" was initiated by International IDEA to alert about governments that are using the COVID-19 pandemic to tighten their grip on power.  

March 2020

International IDEA presented the ‘Global Overview of COVID-19 Impacts on Elections.’

December 2019

Tunisia was the first Member State from the North African and Arab region to join the Institute. 

November 2019

International IDEA launched a new Political Finance Design Tool to increase political-finance transparency.  

November 2019

The launch of The Global State of Democracy 2019 report, packaged as a "global health check of democracy," influenced the global democracy debate.

June 2019

Kevin Casas-Zamora is appointed as the new Secretary-General of International IDEA.

December 2018

The Institute presented a Democracy Assessment in Ukraine using a long-standing State of Local Democracy assessment framework.

December 2018

Luxembourg joined International IDEA as the 32nd Member State of the organization when the Council of Member States met in Stockholm.

June 2018

International IDEA was awarded with a recognition plaque for its work in support of the Departmental Legislative Assembly (ALD) of Beni in Bolivia.

June 2018

Panama joined International IDEA bringing the total number of Member States in the intergovernmental organization to 31.  

January 2018

ACE Electoral Knowledge Network celebrates 20 years of achievements as world’s largest online source of electoral knowledge for EMBs.

December 2017

Launch of the Inter-Regional Report on Gender Equality and Political Empowerment of Women.

November 2017

On the auspices of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of democracy in Costa Rica, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal honored International IDEA with the "Cátedra a la Democracia Award."

November 2017

For the first time, International IDEA launched the "The Global State of Democracy" publication in Stockholm. 

October 2017

International IDEA celebrated a decade of work in Bolivia, satisfying the mission of supporting democratic processes and institutions. 

September 2017

The Embassy of Switzerland in Sweden, the Swiss Democracy Foundation and International IDEA presented the Global Passport to Modern Direct Democracy. 

July 2017

The first class of International IDEA's Youth Democracy Academy graduated in a ceremony attended by representatives of organizations who hosted the alumni as interns.     

June 2017

The film LGBTI Political Inclusion Journeys released by International IDEA, follows the trajectories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) groups in Malawi and Nepal. 

May 2017

In Paraguay, International IDEA has led a multi-stakeholder set of initiatives aimed at strengthening gender equality and youth participation in politics and elections.

December 2016

Following the defeat of long-term ruler of the Gambia Yahya Jammeh, International IDEA became one of the privileged partners working with the newly elected government to put in place a multifaceted post-authoritarian transition. 

December 2016

Benin joined as a Member State bringing to our Institute its support.

August 2016

The Annual Democracy Forum 2016 was celebrated in partnership with the Chair of the Council of Member States, Mongolia, and the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation.  

April 2016

International IDEA conducted a three-day training on the state of democracy assessment framework to a wide variety of government and civil society organizations in Thimpu, Bhutan.

April 2016

Brazil's accession to International IDEA Member States enhanced the organization's membership and has been strategic for deepening engagement in the Lusophone community across the world. 

April 2016

Launch of the Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA), hosted by Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy.       

March 2016

The consensus emerged at our workshop "From paper to lived reality: Implementing women's constitutional rights", held in Nepal, was clear: constitutional guarantees are crucial for gender equality.  

February 2016

India and Sweden reaffirm commitment to International IDEA in a joint statement, signed by Stefan Löfven and Narendra Modi.

September 2015

International IDEA interviewed national leaders on the role they played in the transition to democracy in their countries: Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and Spain. 

January 2015

The stories of Indonesia and Nepal transitions to democracy are connected to International IDEA influence.

November 2014

Launch of the publication The role of organized crime in Latin American politics.

June 2014

Yves Leterme, former Prime Minister of Belgium, is appointed new Secretary-General of International IDEA.

April 2014

For over a decade, International IDEA has been a leading global force in the area of political finance and political parties law. 

September 2013

Using a citizen-led assessment framework developed by International IDEA, Bolivia and Malawi have improved democratic accountability in service delivery.

February 2012

Launch of "A practical guide to constitution building", to respond to the knowledge needs of politicians, policymakers and practitioners involved in constitution building. 

December 2011

International IDEA focused on the Asia Pacific region to reinforce longstanding democracies such as India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. 

November 2011

More than 29 years after the end of the Duvalier regime, Haiti’s process of democratic transition was progressing slowly, and we worked on the field to stimulate this process.

June 2011

The web resource Constitutionnet.org further enhances International IDEA’s pool of online knowledge.

April 2011

The Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy (IRDD) is a platform for engagement among regional organizations on democracy, where International IDEA´s facilitated it and held its Secretariat.

March 2011

The Botswana Independent Electoral Commission and International IDEA worked together to host the 5th Global Electoral Organization Conference in Gaborone.

March 2011

The Dominican Republic and Mongolia joined as new Member States in 2011.

April 2010

The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, jointly established by the Kofi Annan Foundation and International IDEA, to promote and protect the integrity of the electoral process.

June 2009

International IDEA’s engagement with the EU reached a new level after the EU Council adopted specific conclusions on democracy support and a corresponding agenda for action. 

January 2009

In Bolivia’s 2009 elections, women won 47 per cent of all Senate seats—a direct result of the introduction of the Temporary Electoral Law securing gender equality and parity, supported by International IDEA.

March 2008

The Member States of International IDEA welcomed Ghana as a new member.

January 2007

International IDEA contributed to the preparatory phase of Bolivia’s constitutional process by organizing an international seminar on experiences of constituent processes throughout the world. 

October 2006

Vidar Helgesen, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Norway, is appointed Secretary-General of International IDEA.

August 2006

In 2006 Switzerland joined International IDEA and quickly became a critical partner to International IDEA in our shared mission to strengthen peaceful, inclusive democracy for all.

April 2006

After mass protests, King Gyanendra of Nepal was forced to relinquish direct rule and establish multi-party government in the country and International IDEA start supporting constitution building process in Nepal.

June 2005

Mongolia chose International IDEA´s State of Democracy (SoD) assessment framework because it offered a practical template for assessing and establishing progress towards democracy.

April 2004

Cape Verde and Peru joined International IDEA in 2004.

December 2003

International IDEA was granted Observer Status at the United Nations, giving it privileged access to a number of policy forums in which democracy-related issues are discussed.

March 2003

Mexico and Uruguay joined as Member States of International IDEA.

December 2002

Germany joined to International IDEA as Member State bringing its experience and support on our mission.

October 2002

Karen Fogg, a former Head of European Union Delegation in Ankara, is appointed as the second Secretary-General of International IDEA.

June 2002

International IDEA has been collecting comparative data on electoral processes and democracy related topics since its establishment in 1995. 

June 2001

The International IDEA Handbook "Democracy at the Local Level" was developed in response to the pressures facing cities attempting to deal with the social issues due to globalization, growing urbanization and human migration.

June 2000

A group of electoral experts from around the world met in Canberra, Australia, to work out the structure and content of a short capacity-building programme for electoral administrators. 

March 1999

Mauritius joined as International IDEA's 18th Member State.

February 1995

The Founding Conference of International IDEA took place on 27–28 February 1995 and involved 14 founding states.

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