Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), was in Estonia at the invitation of Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets. IDEA is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1995 that works on supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and processes.
The foreign minister and secretary general discussed cooperation possibilities and prospective joint projects to bolster democracy in various regions. They also talked about the general state of democracy, the retreat of democracy in many countries over the past years and its causes.
Estonia has applied for IDEA membership and IDEA member states are set to make the final decision. “Hopefully Estonia will become a member of IDEA on 1 December. This would be a great feat for us, as we consider the work of the institute important and necessary,” Foreign Minister Liimets said. “We highly appreciate IDEA’s achievements in protecting and spreading democracy. I believe that Estonia’s experience in supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and processes as well as our readiness to use various digital solutions to advance democracy across the world is in line with the activities of IDEA.”
Estonia is interested in cooperating with IDEA to diversify our options for providing development aid. “Our current membership in the UN Security Council has significantly expanded Estonia’s involvement in resolving global issues and created many close ties with countries outside Europe,” Liimets said. “From a development cooperation perspective, we have concentrated on Eastern Partners and we are happy to share our experience with other IDEA members. As a potential point of cooperation, I would like to mention the topics of media freedom and democracy that Estonia considers important.”
Secretary General Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora recognised Estonia’s achievements in digital development and using it to strengthen democracy as well as spreading this practice internationally.
IDEA currently has 33 member states. The Secretariat of IDEA is in Stockholm, with representations in 17 countries. IDEA is a permanent observer at the UN. The secretary general of IDEA also had meetings at the Parliament of Estonia, e-Governance Academy, the International Centre for Development Cooperation and the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia