International IDEA’s Council of Member States, chaired by Canada, unanimously approved the United States of America to become an Observer to International IDEA on 1 December 2022.
Erin Barclay, Senior Bureau Official at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (US State Department), took part in the Council of Member States meeting and looked forward to working even closer together as the country prepares for the second Summit for Democracy: “International IDEA has always been a great partner to the United States and we look forward to deepening this partnership”. The USA was first welcomed by the incoming Chair of the Institute, the Netherlands, represented by the Ambassador to Sweden, Bengt van Loosdrecht, who noted that the country “fully supports the United States becoming an Observer as one its closers partners”.
International IDEA’s Secretary-General, Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, was delighted to welcome the USA as an Observer, referring to the decision as a defining moment for the Institute and noting that the USA’s formal engagement with International IDEA significantly enhances the Institute’s global impact. A closer partnership also provides new opportunities to find synergies and to identify opportunities for collaboration on issues of mutual interest. Through the observership, the USA can draw on International IDEA’s global comparative knowledge and enhance its democracy network to foster collective action to protect and strengthen democracy.
International IDEA has a long-standing relationship with the USA. The Institute has actively supported the Summit for Democracy process through the formation of the Global Democracy Coalition and other initiatives. International IDEA currently has two offices in the USA, the UN Office in New York and the recently inaugurated office in Washington, D.C. The North America programme and team is headed by Annika Silva-Leander (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Observers are invited to attend the Council of Member States’ meetings together with the Member States and are encouraged to contribute to the Institute’s work.