‘Challenges to Democracy Building: A Seminar to Inspire a New Swedish Policy” was held in Stockholm, Sweden in May 2007.

It was organized by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, through the Swedish Ambassador for Democracy, Maria Leissner, in cooperation with International IDEA.

Its overarching purpose was to provide inspiration and input for the process of creating a new Swedish policy on democracy building and human rights undertaken by the Ambassador for Democracy.

Participants were invited to point out the main challenges, highlight areas where improvements could be made and give advice with regard to getting the new policy under way.

This publication, produced by International IDEA with support from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, includes accounts of all the presentations made at the seminar and summarizes its main conclusions.


Publication date
03 March 2008
Number of pages
978-91-85724-36-9 (Print)


Maria Leissner, Swedish Ambassador for Democracy

Preface: Democracy and development
Vidar Helgesen, Secretary-General of International IDEA



Acronyms and abbreviations

Supporting democracy: Highlighting the political dimension of international development cooperation
Opening address by the Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson

Part 1. Democracy, democracy building and human rights: definitions of and interlinkages between some ‘contested concepts’

Developing democracy: Concepts, measures and empirical relationships
Todd Landman

Democracy and human rights: Can human rights mechanisms be used to assess democratic progress?
Thomas Hammarberg

Part 2. Regional trends, experiences and challenges

Eastern Europe and beyond: Perspectives of the newest EU members
Pavol Demeš

The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and the promotion of democracy: Background and perspectives
Roberto Cuéllar

Regional issues in democracy building: Perspectives on recent trends in Africa and the Middle East
Abdalla Hamdok

Democracy and development in Africa
Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o

Challenges to democracy builders: What can Sweden learn from the EU?
Richard Youngs

Democracy assessment and democracy promotion from the US perspective
Thomas Melia

Summary and conclusions: Some recommendations for a new Swedish policy on democracy building
Ingrid Wetterqvist


Annex A. About the contributors

Annex B. The conference programme

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Challenges to Democracy Building: Recommendations for a New Swedish Policy on Democracy Building

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