Feature Story

International IDEA support to the Summit for Democracy 2021-2023

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 (2021-2023) around the Summits for Democracy process.  


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This work is conducted by various teams, based in Brussels, Stockholm, Washington D.C., and Addis Ababa, 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. International IDEA maintains the Summit for Democracy News and Resources Portal, which hosts the Summit for Democracy Commitment Dashboard with International IDEA-led analytical inputs and data on Summit commitments, and provides information on all the Democracy Cohorts. The convening of a Global Democracy Coalition Forum, a Partners for Democracy Day, side events around the regional Summits and the Team Europe Democracy Dialogues with civil society provide further examples of International IDEA’s support to the Summit for Democracy process.  


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.  A second Summit will be held on 29 and 30 March 2023, co-hosted by the governments of the United States, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Zambia. 


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 Unioncollaborates 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 Foundationprovides financial support to the Global Democracy Coalition, with more than 100 partner organizations, a multistakeholder platform on democracy convened by International IDEA to engage with the Summit for Democracy. 

Analysis, knowledge tools and resources

Summit for Democracy News and Resources Portal. Through the EU-funded STED project, International IDEA maintains the Summit for Democracy News and Resources Portal, which provides information on the Summit process, including on the work of the Democracy Cohorts and countries’ Summit commitments, as well as Summit related news, events and publications.

The Portal hosts the Summit for Democracy Commitment Dashboard, a dashboard of the verbal and written commitments and the implementation progress made by the 98 countries participating in the first Summit for Democracy to strengthen democracy domestically and internationally. The Dashboard enables to view the commitments by type (domestic or international) and topic and country progress reports. 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.  


Global Democracy Tracker. International IDEA, with support from the European Union and the Bosch Foundation, has launched a Global Democracy Tracker that provides real-time information on democratic developments across 173 countries on a monthly basis International IDEA continues to produce its Global State of Democracy reports and its Global State of Democracy Indices to monitor democratic trends. 


Commitment analysis.  International IDEA 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). 


Inputs to the 2023 Summit. For the 2023 Summit, International IDEA has contributed an analysis of the work of the Democracy Cohorts through a discussion paper which examines the objectives, activities and set outcomes of the Cohorts. International IDEA  also continuously updates the Summit for Democracy News and Resources Portal on the work each of the Cohort. Through the Global Democracy Coalition, International IDEA has also facilitated a reflection and recommendations for the second Summit for Democracy and the post-Summit process 


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. 



Dialogues, events and partnerships

Democracy cohorts. International IDEA co-leads two of the Democracy Cohorts: the Youth Political and Civic Engagement Cohort and the Cohort on Gender Equality as a Pre-Requisite for Democracy. It also engages as a participant in the Cohorts on Technology and Democracy; Information Integrity; Elections; and Civic Space. 


Global Democracy Coalition. International IDEA co-coordinates theGlobal Democracy Coalition (GDC), together with Counterpart International and a steering group of 6 other organizations: Accountability Lab, Alliance of Democracies, Humanity United, Partners Global, DT Institute and Alliance for Vietnam’s Democracy. The GDC has held dialogues on democracy with partners throughout the Year of Action 2022 and issues a monthly newsletter on events and resources from partners in the Coalition.  


Global Democracy Coalition Forum. With support from the European Union and the Robert Bosch Foundation, International IDEA convened a Global Democracy Coalition Forum on 28 February and 1 March 2023, to provide a space for inclusive dialogue on the Summit for Democracy. The Forum discussed progress on S4D commitment implementation, lessons learned from the cohort process, took collective stock of the state of democracy since the first Summit for Democracy, and generated recommendations for the post Summit process. During the Forum, GDC partners to make their own commitments to democracy (GDC pledge). The Forum report is accessible here. A similar Forum was organized ahead of the 2021 Summit. The Forum generated a recommendations for the first Summit for Democracy.  


Partners for Democracy Day. In the lead up to the second Summit, the Global Democracy Coalition will convene a Partners for Democracy Day on 27 March 2023.Through dialogues and events held by civil society organizations, academic institutions and international organizations throughout the world on issues relevant to the global democracy agenda, the P4D Day aim is to provide a platform for more stakeholders to place issues on the agenda of the second Summit and make their voices heard in the Summit discussions. 


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. 

On 20 June 2022, an S4D dialogue: Analyzing country commitments and exploring opportunities for engagement’ was organized. 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. 


International IDEA, with the support of the European Commission held two additional dialogues in 2022. On 15 November, an online peer-to-peer dialogue was organized in collaboration with the Youth Cohort. It offered an opportunity for discussions between EU and non-EU governments, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders on youth and political participation, and on youth, digitalization, and online electoral integrity.   

On 13 December, a hybrid event titled Year of Action Dialogue: Beyond the Summit for Democracy, opportunities and the way forward was organized in Brussels. It explored the opportunities created by the Summit for Democracy and the way forward. It looked at good practices of the Summit implementation process, the role that EU countries can play beyond the second Summit, as well as the value of the cohorts and the dynamics of bringing governments and civil society together to shape future action on commitments. 


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 first Summit for Democracy, the statement was published, and signed by 29 of International IDEA’s Member States. 

This article was updated on  23 March 2023

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. She heads International IDEA's offices in Washington, DC and New York, USA.

About the Author

Programme Manager
Marilyn Neven

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