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What diplomats need to know about democracy and elections

PUBLISHED:
14/01/2020
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The Swedish Diplomatic Training Programme visit to International IDEA Headquarters. Image credit: Lisa Hagman, International IDEA.

The Swedish Diplomatic Training Programme visit to International IDEA Headquarters. Image credit: Lisa Hagman, International IDEA.

International IDEA welcomed the Swedish Diplomatic Training Programme for a deep dive into the world of democracy and elections.

What global democracy trends do I need to keep on my radar screen? What early signs should I look for in spotting democratic backsliding? What detailed and comparative democracy data sources are available to back up these trends and observations?

How do I follow and report on elections? What are the most productive and sustainable ways of assisting the organization of elections? What is the role of elections in post-conflict environments?

These, and many more questions on the global state of democracy and electoral processes, were discussed when the Swedish Diplomatic Training Programme visited International IDEA Headquarters in Stockholm for a half-day learning session on 13 January 2020. The Secretary-General, Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, underlined that the diplomats and the diplomatic community are key partners for International IDEA’s analysis and recommendations on democracy and elections. He stressed that International IDEA’s 25th anniversary in 2020 will give the Institute good opportunities to reach policymakers with recommendations, analysis and relevant knowledge resources.

A team of International IDEA experts, guided the young diplomats through an afternoon of discussion and learning around trends and challenges to democracy, taking a closer look at the democracy trends in Europe and the Eastern Partnership countries. It is worth noting that Sweden, through its Drive for Democracy, has placed democracy support at the front and center of its foreign policy. Further, the learning session looked at different aspects of elections, focusing on specific areas such as electoral observation: Benefits, models, challenges; International electoral assistance and Elections and conflict: Prevention and mitigation of electoral violence.

The training session with the Swedish Diplomatic Training Programme was held for a third time and International IDEA looks forward to expanding our offer of focused training session on Democracy for Diplomats to diplomatic training programmes of our other Member States beyond Sweden.