News Article

International IDEA response to an article in Dagens Nyheter on 17 May 2015 


An article was published in Dagens Nyheter (DN) on the 17th of May. International IDEA’s response on the matters raised in the article is as follows:

1. Consultants and contractors

The principal assertion relates to a contractor taken on to manage the publishing process of the Lessons Learned Project that was started in 2011 at the initiative of the previous Secretary-General.

  • The consultant was contracted following a public invitation launched in August 2014. International IDEA received tenders from 31 companies and individuals. In September 2014, a panel of four people selected candidates and came to a unanimous conclusion on the rankings of the tenders. The top two applicants were invited to Stockholm for a panel interview. There was a unanimous conclusion about which bid to accept.
  • As to the invoice of 26,000 Euros, this invoice, representing 20% of the value of the contract, was paid in line with agreed contract terms.
  • Regarding allegations of this contractor not meeting the objectives, there is an account of the requirements of the contract and progress made since the 1st of January 2015. In summary, on every element there has been substantial progress. The contractor has also gone beyond the basic requirements of the contract and delivered on several additional areas.

2. The Lessons Learned Project

The Lessons from Leaders Project was an initiative of the previous Secretary-General and started in 2011. The project forms part of IDEA’s work-plan which has been submitted to and approved by the Council of Member States. A book has been written by two distinguished academics who interviewed 13 former presidents or prime ministers of countries that had made a transition to democracy during their period of office. The book, entitled Democratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders, is in line with International IDEA’s core mandate.

  • About the costs of the project: the direct cost of the project since 2011 is around 600,000 Euros with the bulk of costs being spent in 2012 and 2013 when the interviews were being undertaken and the book was written. There will be some additional costs during 2015 and at the start of 2016.

3. Reporting mismanagement and lack of transparency

International IDEA has implemented mechanisms that staff may use in order to raise concerns over the management of funds. These include: An Appeals Procedure that directly involves IDEA’s Council of Member State Representatives, a Conflict Resolution Procedure, a Whistle Blowing Policy, a Staff Association, a Finance and Audit Committee and an Internal Auditor. There is also an intranet site which is used by staff members to anonymously raise issues or concerns with Senior Management.

On 22 April 2015, the Finance and Audit Committee reviewed the Financial Statements for 2014 and the plans for future reporting. The Committee welcomed the initiative by IDEA to increase disclosure in its reporting, which would further increase levels of transparency and accountability.

4. Cronyism

The announcement that a former Prime Minister would become the Secretary-General of International IDEA has generated considerable interest in Belgium itself. This is characterised by a substantial increase in the number of applications made by Belgian nationals to open staff positions.

  • As far as the Adviser to the Secretary-General position is concerned, out of 408 applications, 18 Belgians applied.
  • International IDEA has 4 Belgians on the staff at present, including one who was recruited before the current SG joined. The only Belgians who have joined since the current SG came on board are the Adviser and a junior temporary contractor on an hourly contract, who is currently replacing a staff member on parental leave.
  • Since June 2014, under the current Secretary-General, International IDEA has opened up fully competitive recruitments for 39 positions. The Adviser is the only Belgian national who has been recruited as a result.