Founded in 1995 by 14 Member States, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is the only intergovernmental organization with the mission to support sustainable democracy as its sole mandate.
To commemorate its 20th Anniversary, we look back and reflect on the organization’s beginnings and the context for its foundation back in 1995.
This essay is a personal account by International IDEA’s first Secretary-General, Bengt Säve-Söderbergh, of how the organization started. It highlights the political challenges during that period and the bases for the approach to democracy support that International IDEA continues to espouse today.
Those were the days
Reactions and responses
What about existing international organizations?
What about Sweden?
First steps of the Swedish Commission
Meeting in Geneva
Final report of the Swedish Commission
Swedish Government response
The new working group
The crucial meeting: London
1995: the first year
About the author