Highlights of the Dutch Chairship of International IDEA in 2023
The Dutch Chairship of International IDEA in 2023 culminated in the second bi-annual Council of Member States meeting and a set of side events, organized on 30 November and 1 December 2023 at the Institute’s headquarters in Stockholm and online. In its role as the Chair of the Institute, the Netherlands was supported by the Vice Chairs Ghana and Chile.
As Chair, the Netherlands highlighted the theme of Institutional Learning and set objectives to support International IDEA in its stated goal of underpinning its ‘think-and-do’ approach with continuous learning. The Netherlands considered this to be essential in ensuring and strengthening International IDEA’s added value in a space where many organizations excel in either ‘thinking’ or ‘doing’.
After a year of work, the Chair’s efforts to support learning resulted in the drafting and finalization of the Institutional Learning Agenda, which was presented to the Council at its meeting in December 2023 and discussed by the Member States and Board Members at a separate session dedicated to learning. During the learning session, International IDEA colleagues from Africa and West Asia as well as Nepal presented some of the key learnings gathered as part of their programmatic work.
Besides providing continued support, feedback and incentives on the development of the Learning Agenda throughout the Chairship year, the Netherlands also led and facilitated conversations on the topic of learning and made available external knowledge expertise and capacity through the Conflict Research Unit at Clingendael Institute headed by Megan Price. Additional guidance was provided by Mariska van Beijnum, a Member of the International IDEA Board of Advisers.
The cooperation between International IDEA and the Netherlands was further reinforced during the Chairship year with the signing of a multi-year agreement for both core funds for the Institute’s operations and knowledge production and dedicated funds to support peace, democracy, and the rule of law in priority fragile and conflict-affected regions. The six-year agreement for continued support is a strong endorsement of International IDEA’s new Institutional Strategy adopted in 2022 and of the Netherlands’ ongoing commitment to democracy.
Further collaboration during the Chairship year included cooperation on declarations and events. The Netherlands spearheaded the development, signing and launch of the Global Declaration of Information Integrity Online together with Canada and with support from International IDEA. This Declaration establishes a set of high-level international commitments by participating States to protect and promote information integrity online. It is grounded in international law, particularly human rights treaties, as the foundation of good governance that transcends borders and promotes equality, freedom of expression and the media. International IDEA’s Secretary-General Kevin Casas-Zamora participated in the launch of the Declaration during the UN General Assembly week in October at the Dutch Embassy in New York.
Moreover, the Netherlands also utilized the Chairship to host a series of strategically relevant meetings in different parts of the world to further raise awareness of International IDEA both within the Ministry and among partners. They hosted multiple presentations about the Global State of Democracy Initiative at Dutch embassies, supported presentation opportunities in and with the EU and collaborated with International IDEA on the Summit for Democracy events.
Through these interventions, the Netherlands increased International IDEA’s visibility and helped to disseminate the Institute’s research to the world. Throughout its Chairship year, the Netherlands made important contributions to the Institute’s objectives. All these efforts, especially around learning, will continue to shape International IDEA’s work in the future. International IDEA is grateful for the Netherlands’ exemplary devotion to the Chairship and looks forward to continuing the close partnership beyond 2023.