Feature Story

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 2022.

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 and outcomes provide some examples of International IDEA’s Summit engagement, with an expansion of these activities throughout the ‘year of action’ in 2022, ahead of the second Summit.


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 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 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 70 partner organizations, a multistakeholder platform on democracy convened by International IDEA to engage with the Summit.


Key achievements 2021

Summit news and resources portal. Through the EU-funded STED project, International IDEA launched a Summit for Democracy Resources Portal gathering news, events, commitments, democracy data and publications.

First Team Europe Democracy Dialogue with civil Society. On 26 October 2021, 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.

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. 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.

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

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, signed by 29 of International IDEA’s Member States.


Year of action and Summit for Democracy 2022

Analysis, knowledge tools and resources

Through STED and contributions from International IDEA Member States, International IDEA analyses the outcomes of the first Summit for Democracy, including an assessment of the verbal and written government commitments including through an analytical report.

The Summit for Democracy resources portal will be updated with information relevant for those engaging with the Summit for Democracy. International IDEA has developed a Summit for Democracy Commitment Dashboard to provide an easy overview of country commitments and how they relate to countries’ democratic performance, based on data provided by International IDEA and Freedom House.

Strengthening communication. Under STED, Twitter chats will be organized to foster conversation on the Summit outcomes and the implementation of countries’ commitments. A first Twitter chat was organized in February 2022. Short video statements and podcasts will also be produced.

A position paper will be developed through STED based on inputs from Summit stakeholders and dialogues with civil society.

Global Democracy Monitor. International IDEA, with support from the European Union and the Bosch Foundation, plans to develop its Global Monitor on the Impact of Covid-19 on Human Rights and Democracy into a Global Democracy Monitor that will provide real-time information on democratic developments across 165 countries. Activities in 2022 will include an early warning tool to provide a risk calculation for democratic backsliding. International IDEA will continue to produce its Global State of Democracy reports and its Global State of Democracy Indices to monitor democratic trends.

Dialogues, events and partnerships. International IDEA will continue 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.

International IDEA will continue to coordinate the Global Democracy Coalition in 2022, together with Counterpart International. Another Forum will be organized before the second Summit for Democracy and a webinar series held throughout the year of action on issues of relevance for Summit discussions. 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. 





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.