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International IDEA support to the Summit for Democracy 2021-2022

International IDEA views the Summit for Democracy as a strategic opportunity to place democracy at the front and center of the global agenda. The war in Ukraine underscores, even more, the need for democracies to stand united in the face of authoritarian threats. International IDEA has therefore developed a strategic engagement programme around the Summits for Democracy in 2021 and 2023 and the Year of Action 2022.

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This work is conducted by various teams, based in Brussels, Stockholm and Washington D.C., with support from International IDEA Member States, and grants from the European Union and the Robert Bosch Foundation. This Feature Story provides an overview of this programme of activities in support of the Summits for Democracy. The convening of a Global Democracy Coalition Forum and Team Europe Democracy Dialogues with civil society, the creation of a Summit for Democracy resources portal, and International IDEA-led analytical inputs and data on Summit commitments provide some examples of International IDEA’s Summit engagement.

 

Summit for Democracy and Year of Action 2022

In December 2021, the U.S. Government hosted the first of two Summits for Democracy. In the face of challenges to democracy globally, they aim to bring together government, civil society and private sector leaders to form a global agenda for democratic renewal. Over 275 participants joined this Summit globally. A second Summit will be held in the first half of 2023 to take stock of progress in implementing the commitments.

 

Strategic engagement and activities

International IDEA views the Summit for Democracy as an opportunity to rally forces in protecting and supporting democracy and has developed an engagement programme as a contribution to the Summits. Activities include knowledge production, data and analysis, dialogues and partnership building, financed with the support of International IDEA Member States, the European Union and the Robert Bosch Foundation.

 

 

With ‘Supporting Team Europe Democracy – Strengthening democracy evidence and communication around the Summit for Democracy’ (STED), the European Union collaborates with International IDEA to foster civil society engagement in the Summit and monitor outcomes. Activities on democracy data collection are carried out by International IDEA, European Partnership for Democracy and Reporters Without Borders. The project supports the global Team Europe Democracy initiative that was launched in 2021 by the European Commission and EU Member States. The Robert Bosch Foundation provides financial support to the Global Democracy Coalition Forum, with more than 84 partner organizations, a multistakeholder platform on democracy convened by International IDEA to engage with the Summit for Democracy.

 

Analysis, knowledge tools and resources

Summit news and resources portal. Through the EU-funded STED project, International IDEA maintains a Summit for Democracy Resources Portal which contains news, events, commitments, democracy data and publications of relevance for those engaging with the Summit for Democracy.

International IDEA has developed a Summit for Democracy Commitment Dashboard to provide an easy overview of the verbal and written commitments made by the 98 countries participating in the first Summit for Democracy. The Dashboard enables to view the commitments by type (domestic or international) and topic. The country profiles also contain contextual information on countries’ democratic performance, based on data provided by International IDEA and Freedom House. The Dashboard is aimed to be a repository of information on countries’ Summit commitments, governments’ self-reports on implementation progress and independent monitoring reports by civil society and others.

Inputs to 2021 Summit. Through STED, International IDEA published a Policy Brief for the 2021 Summit, assessing the challenges to democracy, democratic performance data on the countries invited to the Summit, and the views and priorities of civil society.

Commitment analysis. International IDEA has analyzed the outcomes of the first Summit for Democracy, including the verbal and written government commitments (through the STED project and with financial contributions from International IDEA Member States).

Global Democracy Tracker. International IDEA, with support from the European Union and the Bosch Foundation, is developing (to be launched on 30 November 2022) a  Global Democracy Tracker that will provide real-time information on democratic developments across 173 countries. International IDEA continues to produce its Global State of Democracy reports and its Global State of Democracy Indices to monitor democratic trends.

 

Dialogues, events and partnerships

Democracy cohorts. International IDEA co-leads the gender and democracy cohort together with Sweden and Romania. It also engages as a participant in the Technology and Democracy; Information Integrity; Youth; Elections and forthcoming Civic Space cohorts.

Global Democracy Coalition Forum. With support from the Robert Bosch Foundation, International IDEA convened a Forum of the Global Democracy Coalition ahead of the first Summit for Democracy in December 2021. The Forum brought together 52 democracy organizations across the world, with around 250 speakers from over 50 countries. A report summarizing the recommendations from the Global Democracy Coalition Forum to the Summit for Democracy was handed to Summit organizers.

International IDEA continues to coordinate the Global Democracy Coalition in 2022, together with Counterpart International. Another Forum will be organized in early 2023 before the second Summit for Democracy and a webinar series has been held throughout the year of action on issues of relevance for Summit discussions (ie country commitments and cohorts). The Global Democracy Coalition provides a valuable platform for joint efforts when democracy is at threat. In February 2022, it issued a statement in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, signed by more than 50 democracy organizations throughout the world. 

Team Europe Democracy Dialogues with Civil Society. On 26 October 2021, ahead of the first Summit for Democracy, the EU and International IDEA convened over 100 participants from civil society, EU Member States and EU representatives to discuss preparations for the Summit and recommendations for commitments.

International IDEA continues to convene Team Europe Democracy and other dialogues with civil society, with support from the EU and in the framework of the Global Democracy Coalition, to discuss country commitments.

The last S4D dialogue was organized on June 20th 2022 on ‘Analyzing country commitments and exploring opportunities for engagement’. The event brought together representatives from the EU, EU Member States, government representatives from outside the EU and civil society to exchange insights on how to galvanize momentum and renew concrete commitments; and how to join efforts, especially through the Team Europe Democracy (TED) initiative, to bring added value to the Summit. On this occasion, International IDEA launched its report, ‘Unpacking the Summit for Democracy Commitments’ which includes an in-depth analysis of country commitments and a presentation of options and opportunities for the Year of Action and the second Summit. The next S4D dialogue will be organized in November 2022 on ‘Promoting the role of youth in political and democratic spaces’, in collaboration with the youth cohort.

Country-level dialogues. With support from STED, International IDEA has been working in four countries (Kenya, Moldova, Nepal and Paraguay) to raise civil society awareness on the Summit for Democracy. A survey helped capture the knowledge of civil society about the Summit for Democracy process and the importance of commitments to strengthen democracy in their country. The project also produced a report on commitment implementation and model commitments with a particular focus on youth political engagement and elections. Civil society is meeting with national authorities to discuss the recommendations of the report and identify ways to strengthen collaboration during the Year of Action.

Strengthening communication. Under STED, Twitter chats have been organized to foster conversation on the Summit outcomes and the implementation of countries’ commitments. The first Twitter chat was organized in February 2022.

A second Twitter chat was organized in April 2022 on ‘Will the Summit for Democracy commitments lead to actions?’, in collaboration with Accountability Lab, which generated approximately 13,000 organic impressions.

 

Multilateral engagement

Member States Statement. International IDEA coordinated with its Member States to issue a joint statement on the value and importance of the Summit for Democracy. A few days before the Summit for Democracy, the statement was published, and signed by 29 of International IDEA’s Member States.

 
 
 
 
This article was updated on 14 October 2022.

 

About the Author

Head of North America and Deputy Permanent Observer of International IDEA to the United Nations
Annika Silva-Leander

Dr Annika Silva-Leander is Head of North America at International IDEA where she oversees International IDEA’s outreach in the region, its engagement in the Global Democracy Coalition, and its work in support of the Summit for Democracy. She is also International IDEA’s Deputy Permanent Observer to the United Nations.

About the Author

Programme Manager
Marilyn Neven

Marilyn Neven is a Programme Manager, Regional Europe Programme, International IDEA.