UN & Democracy Building

Outreach at UN Headquarters

When countries perceive democracy assistance as a Western-driven agenda, democracy itself loses credibility.

International IDEA’s response is to stress the legitimacy of democracy-building by sharing experiences from the global South. The Institute also helps the UN develop an integrated approach to democratization through the three UN pillars (development, peace and security, and human rights).

Confidence that democracy can make life better for millions of people is what motivates International IDEA. Together with its Member States, International IDEA engages in discussions with the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the UN Democracy Fund. Policymakers receive IDEA’s books, IDEA’s analysis on reconciliation and democracy building, and IDEA’s evaluation of democracy assistance from the regions where the Institute supports democratic reforms.

The Institute’s efforts are welcomed. The UN Secretary-General recommended cooperation with IDEA in his report on democracy (2007). The UN General Assembly passed a resolution noting IDEA’s role in support of new or restored democracies (2007). Countries like Mexico, Mongolia and Portugal (on behalf of the European Union) commended the work of IDEA in the 44th plenary of the 62nd session of the General Assembly.

Outreach worldwide

International IDEA contributed to the 5th International Conference on New or Restored Democracies, hosted by Mongolia in Ulaanbataar (September 2003), and the 6th ICNRD hosted by Qatar in Doha (November 2006). Qatar invited IDEA as an observer at the second meeting of the ICNRD-6 Advisory Board held September 2007 in New York. On 17 December 2007, IDEA's Permanent Observer, Dr. Massimo Tommasoli, addressed the UN Headquarters at the ICNRD-6 session on 'Lessons Learned and Future Perspectives'

At the 7th UN Global Forum on Reinventing Government held in Vienna (June 2007), International IDEA Secretary-General Vidar Helgesen chaired a Plenary Session on “Elections, Parliaments and Citizens Trust”. IDEA organized with the Inter-Parliamentary Union a workshop on “Improving the Quality of the Electoral and Parliamentary Process” attended by parliamentarians, election management officers and electoral experts . A UN book on “Public Administration and Democratic Governance: Governments Serving Citizens”, launched in Vienna, addressed IDEA’s work on responsible politics.

IDEA also organized a workshop on "Representative Democracy, Participatory Methods, and Capacity Development for Responsible Politics" at the 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 24-27 May 2005.