International Day of Democracy 2021


Sylvana Lakkis of IFES’ partner, the Lebanese Union for People with Physical Disabilities, speaks out during a march demanding human rights following the August 2020 explosion in Beirut.

To mark International Day of Democracy (IDD) on September 15, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) celebrates resilience and the determination of people around the world to have a voice in how they are governed. First commemorated by the United Nations in 2007, the day is a way to promote and protect democratic principles. This year’s theme is “Strengthening Democratic Resilience in the Face of Future Crises.”

Crises test and put democracies at risk. As we’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, crises provide opportunities for authoritarians to consolidate power and further jeopardize the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized.

IFES is guided by our vision “Democracy for a better future” and our mission “Together we build democracies that deliver for all.” Strong democracies are resilient in the face of crises. IFES is focused on four strategic outcomes to strengthen democracy globally.

#1 Trusted electoral institutions deliver credible elections.

IFES leverages global best practices for more credible, resilient elections. In 2020, IFES supported 83 election management bodies and the safe administration of elections in 23 countries during the pandemic.

This year, in honor of International Day of Democracy, IFES and the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan are organizing a three-day Inclusive Election School for youth ages 18 to 25, who will learn leadership skills and discuss human rights, elections, local government and more.

On September 14, IFES, the National Elections Council of Honduras and local youth network Voto Informado held a virtual forum on “Democracy in Honduras and the Importance of Youth Participation in the 2021 General Elections.”

#2 Effective governing institutions are accountable to the people they serve.

Government responses to COVID-19 and other crises often undermine transparency and accountability mechanisms, increasing the risks of corruption. On IDD 2021, IFES launched the Center for Anti-Corruption and Democratic Trust. It will focus on improving the ability of democracies to deliver for all people through cross-sectoral anti-corruption initiatives that address the global democratic trust deficit.

“Left unchecked, electoral and political corruption threatens the very foundation of democracy, and ultimately can drive violent conflict and humanitarian crises. IFES’ Center for Anti-Corruption and Democratic Trust will forge new partnerships and develop new approaches to counter the dangers that corruption poses to democracies around the world.” – IFES President and CEO Anthony Banbury

#3 All people safely participate in civic and political life on an equal basis.

Democracy thrives when all groups of society have equal rights and political participation, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, Indigenous communities and racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

Join the Embassy of Sweden and IFES on September 16 for an expert discussion on safeguarding the democratic rights of the environmentally displaced. Learn more and RSVP.

In Ukraine, IFES will share the latest news about its Democracy: From Theory to Practice civic education course, on offer at 39 universities and growing. This will include recent trainings for educators and a map of student action projects designed and implemented by Democracy: From Theory to Practice students. To learn more about the course, listen to the August 27 episode of Democracy! The Podcast from the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening.

Georgia’s Journalists Network for Gender Equality, an IFES subgrantee, is holding a meeting on September 15 between local women voters and candidates for the 2021 Gori municipal elections.

For updates on International Day of Democracy in Nepal, follow @MyVoteMyFutureNepal, a Facebook page coordinated by IFES and local civil society organizations to engage young voters ahead of the 2022 elections.

#4 Technology, information and data positively serve elections and democracy.

Increasingly, technology and social media are abused by malign actors to undermine democracy and electoral systems. Despite these challenges, IFES and its partners recognize the value of these tools in reaching voters, enhancing transparency and countering disinformation and hate speech with credible, authoritative content. Read our new guide, Social Media Strategies for Election Management Bodies: A Tactical Guide to Expanding Voter Outreach.

You can also show your support for democracy via social media by using #DemocracyDay and tagging @IFES1987 on Facebook and Twitter.

Suggested Post #1

We need resilient democracies to address crises like COVID-19 and climate change. Strong democracies start with us! On #DemocracyDay, I stand with @IFES1987 and commit to participate to make democracy stronger!

Suggested Post #2

“Democracy provides an environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.” – @UN That’s why I celebrate #DemocracyDay today and every day. @IFES1987

Suggested Post #3

"Left unchecked, electoral and political corruption threatens the very foundation of democracy ..." @TonyBanbury announced @IFES1987’s new Center for Anti-Corruption & Democratic Trust on #DemocracyDay

Published on September 15, 2021.

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