IDEA - Contribution to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance is the only inter governmental organization specialized in democracy support and thus key for realizing Switzerland’s foreign policy objective of promoting democracy. IDEA’s diverse constituency of countries from the Global South & North, its practice oriented expertise and its convening of policy dialogues at all levels, offers Switzerland an ideal dialogue platform and implementing partner on democratic governance.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Democratic participation and civil society
01.01.2023 - 31.12.2026
CHF  3’500’000

Democracy is in decline around the world: The number of backsliding democracies has never been as high as in the last decade. A complex interplay of factors has influenced the democratic downturn, starting with the 2008 financial crisis as well as push-backs against equality and civil rights. Social media and new communication technologies have exacerbated societal and political polarization, enabling the spread of disinformation and increasing hate speech. The aggression of Russia against Ukraine has highlighted how authoritarian regimes undermine multilateralism and the international order. The Covid-19 pandemic has been used to justify excessive democratic restrictions.

IDEA’s membership of 34 countries from younger & older democracies from the Global South and North offers a useful dialogue platform and implementing partner to find solutions to the various challenges related to democracy at regional, national and municipal level. Such membership is also helpful to build up trust & reduce further polarization of liberal & less liberal democracies.

Promoting democracy is part of the DNA of Switzerland, renowned for its democratic tradition and inclusive culture.

Objectives A world in which democratic processes, actors and institutions are inclusive and accountable and deliver sustainable development for all.
Target groups National and subnational governments; oversight agencies; civil society organisations/NGOs, political parties and movements, parliaments; public interest groups; electoral management bodies; constitution makers and implementers.
Medium-term outcomes

IDEA applies outcome mapping methodology for managing results. It formulated 13 outcome statements aiming at behavior change by its partners in its six workstreams. For example:

1)    Constitution-makers apply increased knowledge and skills to make more informed choices regarding constitutional design and process.

2)    Civil society hold constitution makers accountable, inform the public on constitution-building processes, and promote public participation in the process.

3)    Electoral assistance practitioners provide support, informed by norms, good practices and research in electoral processes. They contextualize norms, practices and research to local conditions.


Expected results:   Events, advocacy and trainings in 6 workstreams; Databases, digital platforms and communication products in 6 workstreams & global assessments on quality of democracy; Advisory services, convening dialogues and capacity development at regional, country and municipal level.

Results from previous phases:  

IDEA was key in bringing the voices of civil society organisations in the Summits for Democracy in 2021 and 2023. Various donor agencies regularly used the publication of IDEA’s database with Democracy Indices by country and related bi-annual publications on the Global State of Democracy (GSoD). 791 news articles in 27 languages referenced the GSoD Initiative and its products.

IDEA supported electoral policymakers as they navigate complex decisions, Covid-19 health risks and resistance for holding elections (including a multimedia report with more than 170 briefs from elections in 131 countries).

IDEA has provided advisory and technical support to electoral management bodies and CSOs worldwide related to improve risk management in elections (e.g. in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, The Gambia and Sierra Leone). Through providing comparative information and experience, IDEA has supported countries such as Armenia, Barbados, Belize, Chad, Chile, Mali, Myanmar, Yemen and Armenia, to develop draft constitutions.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Other International Organization
  • International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

Other partners
International IDEA
Coordination with other projects and actors Swiss Embassy in Sweden, Peace and HR Division, 34 IDEA Member States, Swiss Embassies and CoOfs on their democracy projects.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’500’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’614’160
Project phases Phase 11 01.01.2023 - 31.12.2026   (Current phase) Phase 8 01.06.2011 - 31.05.2015   (Completed)