International IDEA

Core Partner of the D4D Coalition

Our Mission
We advance democracy worldwide, as a universal human aspiration and an enabler of sustainable development, through support to the building, strengthening and safeguarding of democratic political institutions and processes at all levels.


Our Approach
We believe that democracy is a universal human aspiration and an experience that is pursued and lived in different ways around the world. It comes in multiple forms. These forms are in constant evolution. There is no single and universally applicable model of democracy. There is no end point in improving democracy. Fundamentally, democracy is a system in which the government is controlled by the people and citizens are considered equals in the exercise of that control. Beyond the basic tenets of citizens’ choice and citizens’ political equality, the critical choices are best made and the quality of democracy is best gauged by those directly concerned: the citizens themselves. We systematically nurture an open and pluralistic understanding of democracy. This is respectful of the national context, and is in line with our non-prescriptive and non-intrusive approach, as well as with the priorities set by national actors.  


Comparative Knowledge on Democracy
We capture diverse experiences of democracy from the around globe. We assess their potential relevance across countries and regions to incorporate them into our expanding body of comparative knowledge on democracy. In the development of comparative knowledge, we explore the challenges to democratization posed by undemocratic regimes. We support and conduct research in areas that are highly relevant for policymaking or reform processes.

We seek to provide decision makers with accurate information on existing options and their likely implications.  We make comparative experiences available to actors across the political and institutional spectrum. This facilitates inclusive processes in which political will for change can emerge. This enables us to help actors to address challenges presented by trends that may adversely impact on and threaten democracy. Through this we are also able to better understand and capture how economic dynamics and technological change affect democracy. 

Our efforts to support democratic change build on our convening potential. We facilitate dialogue at the country, expert and international levels.

  • At the country level, we engage at the request of governments, parliaments or constitutional/electoral bodies. As a convener and facilitator of dialogue at the country-level, we make knowledge-based policy options available to actors in national reform processes.
  • At the expert level, we convene dialogues in order to improve the design and implementation of politics in support of democracy. This enables us to test and pilot the instruments and tools of such new policies.
  • At the international level, we engage in multilateral forums and initiatives to build global understanding and synergies on key democracy issues. This enhances the focus on democracy building within the broader international agenda, particularly peace building and state building.