UN Office (New York)


Carothers on 'Democracy's Uncertain State' at Inaugural Vogt Lecture

The challenge of democracy and rule of law is to convey the complexity of the current turbulence and positive potential within both concepts, said Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace during the inaugural Margaret Vogt Lecture. Carothers spoke about the instabilities in democracies globally.


Building democracy is a goal closely related to the three pillars of the United Nations: development, peace and security, and human rights. We support the UN in its work by contributing to policy debates and agendas on democracy and promoting multilateral dialogue.

We partner with the UN to develop internationally accepted codes of conduct, principles and best-practice guidance in the fields of democracy assistance. We also help to implement these democracy-assistance initiatives around the globe. 

Our work with the UN

We work with the United Nations Secretariat and UN agencies and programmes to:

  • gather comparative knowledge on electoral institutions and processes, political party systems, constitution building, gender and democracy, and the analysis of the state of democracy;
  • develop analysis based on best practices collected by International IDEA through its work on the ground; and
  • implement programmes that support democratic reforms in Latin America, Africa and Asia.


Permanent observer status

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance was an idea in the making for several years before its founding in 1995. Critical to International IDEA's inception was a strong partnership with the United Nations, its departments and specialized agencies working on democratic governance and electoral processes. Although International IDEA operates independently of the UN, its Member States are also UN Members and, in the spirit of cooperation, both organizations work closely together on democracy initiatives.

On 9 December 2003, the UN General Assembly granted Observer status to International IDEA. Like all Observers, our representatives may speak at General Assembly meetings and sponsor and sign resolutions. Observers may not vote on resolutions.

What's Going On

International IDEA's The Global State of Democracy publication cover

International IDEA's The Global State of Democracy publication cover


Ms Emine Bozkurt, member of the International IDEA Board of Advisors, addressing the high-level ministerial segment of the 2017 High Level Political Forum, Thursday, 20 July 2017.  Photo Credit: International IDEA

Feature Story
Left to right:  Malin Stjernström, Swedish Development Forum Helena Bjuremalm, International IDEA Alexandra Wilde, UNDP Oslo Governance Center Massimo Tommasoli, International IDEA Photo: David Rosén  International IDEA

From left to right:  Malin Stjernström (Swedish Development Forum), Helena Bjuremalm (International IDEA), Alexandra Wilde (UNDP Oslo Governance Center) and Massimo Tommasoli (International IDEA)

Photo credit: David Rosén, International IDEA

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Social Media Activity


Country & Regional Support

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


Our response is to emphasize the legitimacy of democracy-building by sharing experiences from the global South. Confidence that democracy can make life better for millions of people is what motivates us. 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 International IDEA’s books, our analysis on reconciliation and democracy building, and our evaluation of democracy assistance from the regions where the Institute supports democratic reforms. 


The organization’s efforts are welcomed. The UN Secretary-General recommended cooperation with International IDEA in his report on democracy (2007). The UN General Assembly passed a resolution noting International IDEA’s role in support of new or restored democracies (2007).

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.  


At the 7th UN Global Forum on Reinventing Government held in Vienna (June 2007), held a Plenary Session on “Elections, Parliaments and Citizens Trust” and organized with the Inter-Parliamentary Union a workshop on “Improving the Quality of the Electoral and Parliamentary Process”.  A UN book on “Public Administration and Democratic Governance: Governments Serving Citizens”, launched in Vienna, addressed our work on responsible politics.

Networks & Partners

ACE Project
UN Democracy Fund
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
UN Department of Political Affairs
UN Development Programme

Contact Our Office

United States of America

Office of the Permanent Observer for International IDEA to the United Nations
336 East 45th Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10017 USA

+1-212-286 1084
Massimo Tommasoli
Permanent Observer for International IDEA to the United Nations
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