16 April 2019

An UNDEF-hosted side event during the March 2019 session of the UN Commission on Status of Women showcased UNDEF projects on the theme of Empowerment, Engagement and Leadership Through Civil Society.

07 February 2019

An UNDEF project works for women’s leadership and political participation in the Somalia regions of Galmudug and Puntland by building awareness, advocacy, and capacity at the grassroots level. 

23 January 2019

An UNDEF-supported project in Mali works to fight corruption in the defence sector by building civil society’s ability to advocate for accountability and transparency.

30 November 2018

A new UNDEF project in Kazakhstan works to rehabilitate young ex-offenders through training, skills development and psychological support. 

13 November 2018

The UNDEF-supported project Young People for Dialogue and Democracy in Honduras works to strengthen rights and participation of Honduran youth by strengthening legislative leadership skills of young parliamentarians.



15 October 2018

An UNDEF regional project has just completed a series of activities aimed at contributing to efforts to repeal criminal defamation laws and other restrictions to freedom of expression - barriers to strong and stable democracies.

02 October 2018

The Cambodian Development Resource Institute under its UNDEF grant is empowering women and women’s groups to promote and advocate for climate change adaptation initiatives.

11 September 2018

The annual Athens Democracy Forum is being was held on 14-19 September 2018, organized for the sixth time by The New York Times in cooperation with the UN Democracy Fund and Athens City Hall.



03 April 2018

An UNDEF-hosted side event during the March 2018 session of the UN Commission on Status of Women showcased UNDEF projects on the theme Empowerment Through Democracy, Civil Society and Innovation.



14 February 2018

An UNDEF project launched in early 2018 will work in the Guinea-Bissau regions of Bafata and Gabu to decrease gender-based violence, focusing on female genital mutilation. It will also champion freedom of speech for human rights defenders, and young people’s participation in public decision-making processes.



01 December 2017

UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill participated in the launch of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance's landmark report.



17 November 2017

UNDEF’s annual call for project proposals is open from 20 November to 20 December 2017, after receiving the green light from the UNDEF Advisory Board on 16 November.



27 October 2017

A documentary on Bolivian transgender rights was recently screened in La Paz at the forum “Progress and Challenges relating to the human rights of the LGBT community”.



15 September 2017

The annual Athens Democracy Forum was held on 13-17 September 2017, organized for the fifth year by The New York Times in cooperation with the UN Democracy Fund and Athens City Hall. This year’s programme included discussions on the future of polling, political discourse in the post-truth era, bridging the generational gap, the power of the political cartoonist, and progress towards the Global Sustainable Development Goals.



16 June 2017

Youth from Kenya, South Africa and Seychelles recently participated in a regional training workshop in Nairobi as part of an UNDEF funded project to promote the active participation of young people in drug policy development by building the capacity of youth organizations to advocate for the rights of vulnerable people drug users.



30 May 2017

An UNDEF-funded project in Belarus organized an international forum in Vitebsk in May 2017 on empowering people with disabilities by creating opportunities for work and employment.



25 April 2017

A new UNDEF-funded project in Tunisia works to include and economically empower vulnerable youth in the northeastern governorates of Beja, Jendouba, Kef and Siliana. Implemented by local NGO Tamkeen For Development, it skilfully links economic empowerment and political participation for youth at risk in poverty-prone areas of the country.



28 March 2017

UNDEF event co-hosted with World Federation of United Nations Associations, WFUNA, focused on how civil society organizations can learn from others’ experience to be more effective and create more sustainable impact in their activities.



17 March 2017

An UNDEF-funded project has just begun in war-torn Yemen to assist peacebuilding and promote democracy by empowering youth to participate more in civic life. This project addresses challenges posed by ethnic and religious tensions.



06 March 2017

Around the world today, 130 million girls didn't go to school. Not because they didn’t want to, but because they weren’t able or allowed. They are denied an education for a variety of reasons, from cultural norms and costs to violence and extremism.




24 February 2017

UNDEF debuted at the first Nairobi Film Festival with the story of Maria as she fights her way through the sleaze of elections to Parliament. The film is part of an UNDEF Kenya project to empower women and youth in the settlements of Kamukunji, including developing their creative potential through educational films and plays.



30 January 2017

An UNDEF project in India works to address inequalities by improving local services provision to women and youth in disadvantaged communities in the Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Orissa.



27 January 2017

UNDEF held its eleventh call for proposals in November-December 2016, announcing that it particularly welcomed projects promoting pluralism, diversity, and inclusion -- a theme agreed at the UNDEF Advisory Board meeting of 9 November 2016, pictured.



06 January 2017

For people of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic, a recently introduced ruling brings the risk of statelessness or deportation. Lack of identity documents and difficulties in obtaining them mean that Dominicans of Haitian descent may become stateless, while Haitian immigrants are not able to obtain an immigration status because they have been unable to submit all required documentation, or have been denied regular immigration status.



05 January 2017

Civil society representatives from around the globe gathered in Poland from the 15-16 December at the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy to discuss ways to reinforce the values crucial to democracy.   Under the overall heading “From Past to Future: Strengthening Democratic Values” participants considered a range of important questions from citizen oversight over elections to the role of education in democracy. There was also a workshop focusing on citizen activism in the European neighbourhood.



29 December 2016

An UNDEF-funded project is being launched in Algeria to help consolidate democratic values and practices among young people in the northern province of Blida, with a particular focus on the rights of women and girls. The project agreement was signed on 21 December 2016 following negotiations among all stakeholders, including Algeria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior, local government, the implementing local NGO Association Djazairouna, and the UN Development Programme office in Algiers.



23 December 2016

Germany increased its support to the United Nations Democracy Fund in December 2016, contributing two million euro in addition to 1.5 million euro in April 2016. Germany's Ambassador to the UN, Harold Braun, handed over the contribution to UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill on 23 December, the day before Christmas Eve. This brings to 3.5 million euro the amount Germany has disbursed to UNDEF in 2016 alone, and some 20 million euro since the Fund was created 10 years ago.



12 December 2016

As Colombia emerges from decades of conflict, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos – winner of the 2016 Nobel peace prize –- has made education is one of the three main pillars of government policy. This is essential both to make the hard-won peace sustainable, and to overcome the enormous challenge of inequality.



18 November 2016

The United Nations Democracy Fund invites civil society organizations to apply for project funding. Project proposals may be submitted on-line between 18 November 2016 and 18 December 2016 at You can find guidelines, FAQs and lessons learned for applicants at



17 November 2016

An UNDEF-funded project works to mobilize rural women and youth in the Walungu territory of South Kivu, where it is estimated that about 60 per cent of rural youth and 80 per cent of rural women are illiterate.



01 November 2016

Allowing women to become political leaders is vital, not only to ensure a fully inclusive democracy, but so that women’s interests and concerns are represented in decision making.  With the ongoing conflict in Somalia, the problem of female representation in government is not given a high priority.



24 October 2016

An UNDEF project, in Ukraine worked with local people to engage in democratic processes to protect their environment.  The project, “Strengthening Participatory Democracy for Effective Environmental Protection in Ukraine”, was implemented by the organization Environment-People-Law.  Despite facing intense political instability, such as the outbreak of a revolution in 2013 and military conflict in 2014, the project was successfully completed in January 2016.



12 October 2016

An UNDEF regional project to involve young people, especially young women in political life in Libya, Morocco and Tunisia has led to a number of the participants standing in elections for the Moroccan Parliament, including Hanane Rihab who was elected as a member of the Socialist Union for Popular Forces, coming top of the women’s list.



15 September 2016

To mark the International Day of Democracy on 15 September, UNDEF co-organized two events – one at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the other in Athens, the birthplace of democracy.



13 July 2016

An UNDEF-funded project in rural India completed its work the end of 2015 to promote democratic processes and human rights through the use of media and the freedom of information, including by launching a platform for communities to share audio information using mobile phones and the internet.



13 May 2016

Thomas Carothers, one of the world's leading scholars on democracy support,  gave a lecture at the United Nations on the theme of "Democracy’s Uncertain State".



27 April 2016

UNDEF celebrity Board member Jeffrey Wright came into the UN studios to present Prisoners of the Caucasus, a documentary on an UNDEF project for penal reform in the Caucasus.



04 April 2016

Germany is pleased to renew its contribution to UN Democracy Fund by USD $1,600,000 to strengthen democracy and empower civil society.



01 March 2016

Another UNDEF project with Arab NGO Network for Development recently launched in five countries in the Middle East and North Africa region – Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco  - with the goal to enhance participation of civil society organizations into the sustainable development agenda.



11 January 2016

UNDEF received more than 2600 project proposals in its latest annual call, which closed on 31 December 2015.  The project proposals are now subject to a highly rigorous and competitive selection process, quality vetting, due diligence and lessons learned from previous Rounds.



07 January 2016

UNDEF funds a project in Jordan to foster a more informed public dialogue on human rights through strengthening media. It works for high quality journalism on human rights-related issues; holds on-air forums actively informing and engaging the public; builds media skills, tools and communications strategies including new information and communication technology to increase citizen participation and collect data relevant to local human rights issues.



02 December 2015

Watch full episode of PBS Channel 13 television interview with UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill.



10 November 2015

For Nepal's Chepang people, one of the indigenous groups living in the Himalaya foothills, poverty and marginalization remain a daily reality. Chepang women are further marginalized by lower literacy rates, lack of access to health services, and scarce economic and political influence in a traditionally male dominated environment. 



03 November 2015

Pakistan has a massive youth population which comprises 60 per cent of the country’s 190 million people. Many of them are increasingly active on social media. An UNDEF-funded project works uses this tool to engage youth on political and governance and local development issues.



26 October 2015

With populations in both Malawi and Zambia consisting of over 50 per cent young people, there is an increasing push among governments, development partners and civil society to recognize the specific needs and vulnerabilities of young people as well as their immense capacity to contribute positively to development.



16 September 2015

To mark the International Day of Democracy on 15 September, the Athens Democracy Forum 2015 was held for the third year by the International New York Times in cooperation with the UN Democracy Fund.



10 September 2015

An UNDEF-funded project in Turkey works with Syrian women refugees in Reyhanli, in Reyhanli, near the Turkey-Syria border, so as to give them opportunities to organize, engage and support other refugees while preparing for the future, whether in Turkey or in Syria. The initiative thus focuses on the sizeable Syrian refugee communities who are currently seeking to build a life in Turkey and not planning to move on to Europe or elsewhere.



18 August 2015

In El Salvador, a country ravaged by renewed violence perpetrated by criminal gangs, or maras. UNDEF funds a number of projects to empower citizens to make use of recently adopted legislation to build rule of law and human rights. UNDEF Executive Head Annika Savill visited both projects in San Salvador in July 2015.



03 June 2015

'In accepting the Tipperary International Peace Award, I want to sound a call to protect the space needed by civil society. Confident nations are those that see civil society as an indispensable partner in working for the betterment of society.'





02 June 2015

An UNDEF project in Haiti works to advance the rights and influence of rural women in the North and North-East regions of the island. Using new information and communication technologies, the project promotes natural resource management policies and development programmes that uphold the fundamental rights of women and ensures fair opportunities and services.



10 April 2015

The right to free counsel for poor persons accused of a crime is enshrined in law in the West Bank. Yet the government legal aid system is not meeting the need and few lawyers are trained to provide effective criminal defence services. In addition, police, prosecutors, and courts often engage in practices that are unsupported by law and further undermine the rights of the accused.



31 March 2015

For Nepal's Chepang people, an indigenous group living in the Himalaya foothills, poverty and marginalization remain a daily reality. Chepang women are further marginalized by lower literacy rates, lack of access to health services, and scarce economic and political influence in a traditionally male-dominated environment. 



13 March 2015

An UNDEF-funded project in Liberia works to empower rural women by providing speedy information and networking opportunities via radio and mobile technology.  Implemented by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee, the radio-to-mobile service makes broadcasts of Liberia Women Democracy Radio, LWDR 91.1 FM, available via cellphone and on line.



26 February 2015

Given the large volume of proposals, only applicants who advance to the short list will be contacted by UNDEF. This is expected to be in mid-2015. The project proposals originated from applicants in 143 countries, the vast majority local civil society organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.



18 February 2015

Cameroon suffers from a shortage of communication and accountability between local elected leaders and their electorates in planning and implementation. This is why UNDEF funds a project to build participatory governance and including local communities in local decision making processes.



15 January 2015

UNDEF funds the first initiative in Ukraine to introduce parliamentary procedures in the daily work of selected local Councils in all 24 regions of the country, including in the East, so as to increase the transparency and accountability of local self-governance. The project is selecting 24 local authorities.



08 December 2014

An UNDEF-funded Bolivia project works to strengthen representation and political participation in regional political decision-making for five urban indigenous groups in Santa Cruz de la Sierra -- Ayoreos, Guaraníes, Chiquitanos, Guarayo and Yuracaré-Mojeños.



13 November 2014

An UNDEF-funded project for penal reform in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia held an essay and presentation competition for law students to increase awareness of alternatives to imprisonment, reflect on challenges of existing criminal justice policy, and advance professional interest in building a probation system, currently non-existent in Armenia, Azerbaijan.



05 November 2014

An UNDEF Kosovo* project engages civil society in monitoring to advance transparency and accountability in local governance. Coordinated by the Kosova Democratic Institute, the project works in 14 municipal assemblies across all seven regions of Kosovo -- Prishtina, Mitrovica, Peja, Gjakova, Prizren, Ferizaj and Gjilan.



17 September 2014

The Athens Forum 2014: Democracy under pressure was organized for the second consecutive year by the International New York Times and Kathimerini newspapers in cooperation with the UN Democracy Fund.



17 September 2014

UNDEF and its partners in the United Nations Working Group on Democracy held an event at the International Peace Institute in New York on the theme of the democratic engagement of young people.



12 September 2014

An UNDEF-funded project in Sierra Leone has empowered the National Council of Paramount Chiefs with a comprehensive five-year strategic plan to be responsive and accountable to the needs and rights of their people as well as contribute to sustained peace, security and development.







10 September 2014

The first project of UNDEF's Eighth Round of Funding was signed on 9 September 2014, one of some 50 new initiatives that will be launched by UNDEF in this new Round. The project will work to strengthen independent journalism in Libya, so that local citizens have better access to information.



17 July 2014

UNDEF-funded Khabar Lahariya is an award-winning rural weekly newspaper published in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in local languages and run by collective of 40 rural women journalists. In May 2014, it won Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum Award.



13 June 2014

An UNDEF project works for alternatives to prison sentencing in the Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.  The goal is to promote the effective use of non-custodial and early release measures to challenge the overuse of imprisonment, help decrease in the prison population and build proportionate responses to crime. 



13 May 2014

An UNDEF project in Moldova, where corruption and public mismanagement remain major challenges, established an innovative form of joint media-civil society watchdogs to work for transparency and accountability.



29 March 2014

An UNDEF-funded project in Costa Rica works to promote leadership and citizenship skills among disadvantaged youth. In March 2014, the project held a train-the-trainers camp for 50 adolescents, with skills to be implemented as part of a cascading process in their communities.



21 March 2014

An UNDEF-funded project in Tunisia has produced an irresistibly motivational video for the empowerment of girls, as part of a vast programme of civic outreach and electoral education. The project addresses the need for women's rights, participation and political education in all regions. 



13 March 2014

An UNDEF Nepal project works to increase participation of women in local governance at the most basic level of the ward, through Ward Citizen Forums. It educates women in democratic rights and gender-responsive budgeting, making them more vocal in their demands in the decision-making process.



18 February 2014

Serbia is host to some 300,000 people displaced through the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, most of whom are from Kosovo. Despite a range of efforts in the past decade, these internally displaced people remain one of the most vulnerable groups in Serbia.



10 February 2014

An UNDEF Cambodia project to strengthen ethics in journalism organized the country's first awards in this area in December 2013. Awards were distributed to 13 Cambodian media organizations -- TV stations Bayon, Apsara, Hang Meas, SEATV, TV 5, TV 3, TV 9 and CTN.



03 February 2014

An UNDEF Kosovo* project works to engage civil society in monitoring local governance to advance transparency and accountability in local governance. After one year of monitoring local government institutions, 12 civil society organizations published their first Annual Performance Report.



23 January 2014

An UNDEF-funded project works in Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt to strengthen the role of women in society, particularly in remote and underprivileged areas. Implemented by the Jordanian Centre for Civic Education, the project works with local civil society groups to improve their capacity and networking.



16 January 2014

An UNDEF-funded project in Iraq has completed its work with six Governorate Councils to strengthen civil society participation in democratic processes and advance accountability in Government institutions. The project, implemented by the Um-Alyateem Foundation, worked in Baghdad, Babil, Karkuk, Najaf, Wasit and Diyala to establish civil society monitoring groups.



07 January 2014

After a series of disruptions caused by political upheavals and government restrictions, an UNDEF Egypt project has started work in earnest to form a coalition of partners for integrity. Implemented by the Arab Program for Human Rights Activists, the initiative held its first conference in December 2013.



19 November 2013

UNDEF Board member Jeffrey Wright, the award-winning actor currently starring in the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Boardwalk Empire, came to the UN television studio to record the narration for a documentary on an UNDEF project.



31 October 2013

In the Longido District of northern Tanzania, UNDEF supports a community development project among the Maasai population with a special focus on women. It works to strengthen women’s role in decision-making and priority-setting to better reflect their needs.



25 October 2013

An UNDEF-funded project in the Russian Federation co-organized a nationwide conference in October 2013 on indigenous peoples and industry: Cooperation, prospects, challenges.



16 October 2013

A graduate of an UNDEF-funded project for women’s empowerment in India has been elected Mayor of Ahmedabad, a city with a population of six million. Meenaxiben Patel, elected Mayor in April 2013, participated in a training and capacity-building programme funded by UNDEF and implemented by the New Delhi-based Centre for Social Research before being elected.



14 October 2013

Studies show that voters in Liberia, particularly rural women and youth, vote out of fear and ignorance because the majority are illiterate and have no access to civic or voter education. An UNDEF-funded project provides voter and civic education in rural areas as vital mechanisms to ensure that rural constituents understand their rights.



07 October 2013

For Azerbaijan's presidential elections on 9 October 2013, and parliamentary elections in November 2015, UNDEF funds a project in Azerbaijan to build awareness of electoral process and voting rights among local communities, with a special focus on women and youth.



01 October 2013

Diplomats, UN officials and civil society representatives gathered during the opening of the UN General Assembly for the launch of the UNDEF/Hunger Project 2013 State of Participatory Democracy Report. The report is part of a two-year project to cultivate a global community of practice, develop a multidimensional Participatory Local Democracy Index, and publish an annual report of its findings.



24 September 2013

UNDEF co-convened an event at the International Peace Institute in New York on 16 September to mark the International Day of Democracy. The invitation-only event, “Democratization at the Sharp End” brought together leading UN officials from the UN’s work in the field, including Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti.



24 September 2013

To mark the International Day of Democracy, International Herald Tribune and Kathimerini newspapers convened, in cooperation with UNDEF, the "Athens Forum 2013:  Democracy under Pressure" in the Ancient Agora of Athens -- the birthplace of democracy.



04 September 2013

An UNDEF project in Uganda works to build a critical mass of women grassroot activists who demand accountability and improved service delivery to communities. The project seeks to influence democratic processes through empowering communities to hold their leaders accountable and to demand for gender-sensitive service delivery.



12 August 2013

An UNDEF project in Bangladesh empowers indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to access information on public services offered by local government institutions and departments. In this way, the initiative contributes to indigenous communities' participation in the democratic governance process.



02 August 2013

An UNDEF-funded project in Cameroon works to promote a culture of democratic practices among young people, and to transform community radio into an effective tool towards this end. It gives rural, marginalized people an opportunity to make their voice heard.



23 July 2013

UNDEF funds a project to create a more inclusive democracy in Guatemala by increasing the participation and recognition of indigenous women and traditional Maya community authorities. The project, active in in Chisec and Raxruha, northern Alta Verapaz, focuses on more effective participation of indigenous women and indigenous community.



17 July 2013

UNDEF funds a project in Paraguay to strengthen women’s grassroots organizations, train women in leadership and political processes, and enable them to interact with government. Implemented by Sociedad de Estudios Rurales y Cultura Popular, the project also broadcasts radio programmes to give women experience in public speaking.



19 June 2013

UNDEF funds a project to empower Jordanian artists and journalists to act as "Freedom Messengers" -- catalysts and networkers for free speech and media. The project, focused on people under 35 and implemented by the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists in Jordan.



15 May 2013

With more than 60 per cent of the population aged under 30, Tajikistan is one of the world’s youngest countries. Yet youth participation, both political and social, is low and young people’s opinion undervalued. This is why UNDEF funds a project in Tajikistan to encourage young people to participate in political debates on youth policy issues.



23 April 2013

An UNDEF-funded project in Zimbabwe works to empower women and increase their participation in politics and the decision-making process. The project, implemented by the Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust, trains women in the Binga District to be popular opinion leaders.



16 April 2013

India’s Ambassador to the UN, Manjeev Singh Puri, kicked off UNDEF's Board meeting by handing over a cheque for 1.85 million dollars from the world's largest democracy. This brings to over 31 million dollars India's total contribution since the Fund was established in 2005.



02 April 2013

Bosnia-Herzegovina is still a post-war country in transition, divided along ethnic lines. Because the engagement and civic responsibility of young people is crucial, an UNDEF-funded project works to equip young people with leadership skills to take active part in decision-making processes.



25 March 2013

An UNDEF-funded project in Iraq has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with six Governorate Councils as part of an effort to strengthen civil society participation in democratic processes and advance accountability in Government institutions.



04 March 2013

An UNDEF-funded project for using public interest litigation to strengthen human rights and the rule of law in Southern Africa has yielded some significant developments in just one year. The initiative's implementers, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, recently litigated a case in Botswana on behalf of four elderly sisters challenging a discriminatory customary law practice.



21 January 2013

UNDEF funds a new project in Libya, Morocco and Tunisia to engage youth and civil society in public policy dialogue. It works through more than 200 local public policy programmes, training trainers and producing learning materials under the Project Citizen curriculum.



08 January 2013

UNDEF finances a new project for a centre of excellence to mainstream Libyan women in politics and develop a nationwide civic education strategy. The centre will train women in democratic processes and institutions, gender, leadership and interpersonal skills.



02 January 2013

Former slaves and their descendants -- in particular women -- remain victims of severe discrimination in Mauritania. Hampered by illiteracy and poverty, they are excluded from political processes, unaware of their human rights, and subject to electoral manipulation.



12 December 2012

Efforts for democratization and development in Kyrgyzstan continue to be hampered by political and administrative corruption that limits access to public goods and services. Vulnerable groups are excluded from access to land, water, shelter, sanitation, clothing, healthcare and education, as well as from participation in decisions that affect their lives.



01 December 2012

The UN Secretary-General issued a message on Human Rights Day, 10 December, warning that "In several parts of the world, we have seen alarming threats to hard-won gains in democratic governance. In some countries, civil society groups face growing pressures and restrictions.



12 November 2012

An UNDEF-funded project in Tajikistan has created a Youth Council representing each of the 44 counties of Kuhistoni Badakshon province, providing training and confidence-building for a new generation of citizens. 



09 November 2012

UNDEF opens its annual window for project proposals for its Seventh Round of Funding on 15 November 2012, following the green light given by UNDEF Advisory Board. Project proposals may be submitted on-line between 15 November and 31 December. Only on-line proposals in either English or French will be accepted.





09 October 2012

In a keynote address to the Council of Europe's World Forum for Democracy, the UN Secretary-General spoke of the practical actions the UN is taking to support democracy.



25 September 2012

UNDEF funds a project to increase involvement of women in Nigeria’s governance and democratic processes. A national network of women advocates from three generations lead a dialogue on new strategies for affirmative action and a new work plan for women’s empowerment.



13 September 2012

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlights the importance of democracy education in his message for this year’s International Day of Democracy on 15 September.



11 September 2012

UNDEF finances an initiative in Laos to empower civil social organizations to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development and good governance. The project focuses on training and capacity-building for civil society leaders.



10 August 2012

UNDEF supports an initiative for higher standards of integrity in Africa’s electoral processes, resulting in the Accra Principles of Electoral Justice. In a project implemented by Tiri Integrity Action, the Principles were agreed to in Accra in 2011 by a diverse group including African chief justices, electoral leaders and civil society representatives.



09 July 2012

UNDEF funds a project to train and support Arab bloggers and citizen journalists to advance freedom of expression and human rights. The initiative, implemented by the Tunis-based Institut Arabe des Droits de l'Homme, works with writers in range of countries, including Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen.



03 July 2012

How to engage young people in one of the world's youngest democracies? Bhutan, a nation of 650,000 people, elected a new government in 2008 to replace a century-old monarchy. It is now striving to develop a democratic culture underpinned by a public educated in democratic concepts.





26 June 2012

In the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, UNDEF funds a project to build civic participation to promote democracy and human rights, with an emphasis on youth, women and civil society.





19 June 2012

Moroccan UNDEF grantee Elarbi Imad, President and Executive Director of the Moroccan Center for Civic Education, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in June 2012 for his work in creating knowledgeable, engaged global and community leaders through education.





12 June 2012

12 June 2012

UNDEF Deputy Head Annika Savill visited a project in Kamchatka Territory, Russian Federation, in May 2012 to support democratic participation of indigenous peoples. The visit included a round table with representatives of local government and the private sector to promote best practices of cooperation. 



06 June 2012

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently underwent extensive reform, including new rules of procedure to improve victims’ access to legal representation. The new rules facilitate procedural equality between parties, increase transparency, and advance more consolidated participation by the alleged victims.



29 May 2012

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently underwent extensive reform, including new rules of procedure to improve victims’ access to legal representation. The new rules facilitate procedural equality between parties, increase transparency, and advance more consolidated participation by the alleged victims.



30 March 2012

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, presented the Secretary-General with a cheque for 4.71 million dollars for the UN Democracy Fund on 30 March 2012, bringing to nearly 30 million dollars India's total contribution since the Fund’s inception seven years ago.



23 March 2012

Deputy Executive Head Annika Savill met with Rodion Sulyandziga, First Vice-President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North at UN headquarters on 22 March, in connection with an UNDEF-funded project to support democratic participation of northern indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation.



23 February 2012

UNDEF is delighted that Jeffrey Wright has accepted the UN Secretary-General’s invitation to serve on the UNDEF Advisory Board for 2012-13. An award-winning film, television, and stage actor acclaimed for his versatility, with roles in productions ranging from James Bond movies and Angels in America to the recent electoral thriller Ides of March.





17 February 2012

Although recent Liberian elections have generally been pronounced free and fair by the international community, studies show that even more than a decade after the end of armed conflict, some voters vote out of fear and ignorance. This is particularly true of rural women and youth, many of whom are illiterate and have no access to civic or voter education.



03 February 2012

The first UNDEF-funded Women Leadership School – one of four planned worldwide – was launched by the Women’s Democracy Network in Tbilisi, Georgia on 27-29 January. The 25 students, aged 19 to 35, include journalists, political party activists, university students and civil society representatives.



27 January 2012

With UNDEF support, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance has now been ratified by 15 nations – a milestone which means the Charter will now enter into force. To take effect, the Charter requires at least 15 Member States to sign and ratify.



20 January 2012

In Bangladesh, UNDEF funds an initiative to advance pro-poor and democratic governance in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The project works in over 200 villages to step up interaction between organizations of poor tribal peoples and local government administration.



22 December 2011

An UNDEF-funded online directory of parliamentary committees and NGOs was launched to bridge the divide between Pakistan’s Parliament and civil society. It will serve as a resource tool for Parliament to facilitate the use of professional research sources in addressing issues relevant to the Committees. 



20 December 2011

In Central Asia, NGOs and independent media often have nowhere to turn for support on new media technology, with little or no in-house knowledge and commercial alternatives that are far too expensive. That’s why UNDEF funds a new media clinic in the region.



14 December 2011

Democratic Republic of Congo, UNDEF supports a project that promotes participatory democracy by creating clubs for Democratic Action. The project is implemented by the Organization Peace, Unity, Reconciliation, Reconstruction (OPURR).



07 December 2011

A task force formed to support China's rural women’s participation in local politics convened in Shaanxi province in November 2011, as part of an UNDEF-funded project to empower women in areas where patriarchal values still dominate village governance.



29 November 2011

An UNDEF-funded project in Rajasthan, India, completed its work in 2011 to strengthen the leadership of women elected to Gram Panchayats, or village councils. The project provided training to more than 2,000 elected women and raised the profile of women's political leadership.



21 November 2011

A new set of guiding principles for free, fair and transparent elections in Africa was launched in Accra, Ghana, on the International Day of Democracy as part of a project made possible by UNDEF. The document, known as the Accra Principles for Electoral Justice.



11 November 2011

The Big Issue Lagos, a new and pioneering Nigerian street magazine funded by UNDEF, was launched in November 2011. It is the part of an UNDEF-financed six-country project to use street papers to give marginalized people a platform from which their voices can be heard.




27 October 2011

The UN Democracy Fund was one of the co-hosts of the Oslo Governance Forum in October 2011, which brought together 250 participants from government and civil society in more than 70 countries. The Forum focused on case studies of local participatory approaches to holding governments accountable.



20 September 2011

At the CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal in September, UNDEF hosted a panel discussion that brought together UNDEF projects from four continents, each focusing on strengthening the voice of civil society.



13 September 2011

In the 25 years since Vietnam introduced the doi moi programme of reforms, citizens have come to participate far more actively in politics at both commune and village levels. But government is still not fully accountable, especially on issues impacting the environment.



19 August 2011

In eight countries of Central Asia and South Caucasus, UNDEF funds a project to increase public participation and make governance more accountable through independent monitoring of public policy-making and implementation. The initiative relies on expertise from independent policy centres with experience of democratic transformation. 



19 August 2011

For UNDEF's Fifth Round of Funding, the Secretary-General has approved a short list of 64 project proposals recommended by the UNDEF Advisory Board. The proposals were short-listed out of a record number of more than 3,700 applications - almost double the average number in the past few years. Because of the large number of applicants, UNDEF is able to respond directly only to those on the short list. For more details, please see our next newsletter in July.




04 August 2011

UNDEF funded and supported the organization of a conference in Cairo on 26-27 July on "Ways to Strengthen the Democratic Transformation of Egypt". The conference, held by The Cairo Institute for Human Right Studies in partnership with the Madrid-based think-tank FRIDE, drew more than 100 participants from Egyptian civil society, political parties and academic institutions as well as a number of foreign observers.



07 July 2011

In Azerbaijan, a transitional society shaped by vast oil and gas resources, UNDEF funds a new project to create the country's first women's parliament. The initiative will serve as tool to give more meaning to women’s rights in Azerbaijan, while strengthening efforts to improve governance in the country as a whole.



28 June 2011

In Ukraine, UNDEF funds a project to build skills among NGOs and citizens to engage in political processes and hold their local government officials accountable. The project works in eight regions throughout East and West Ukraine to improve citizens’ advocacy.



24 May 2011

India has the largest tribal population in the world, with more than 460 tribes comprising some 85 million people. Almost one third are in the Himalayan region. They face a range of challenges, from displacement and exclusion to poverty and illiteracy.



17 May 2011

How can civil society in Russia work more effectively with the authorities to achieve positive change? UNDEF funds an initiative to build skills among Russian NGOs that lack experience in interacting with officialdom and in communicating their message effectively.



17 May 2011

At this crucial time for democratization efforts in several countries, UNDEF hosted a seminar on 9 May to present the findings of a vast study about how well the support family is supporting the many actors in the field.



11 May 2011

'The Doers of Democracy', an exhibition of photographs organized by UNDEF, was displayed in the Visitors' Lobby at UN Headquarters in New York from 9 May to 15 July 2011, and at the Palais des Nations in Geneva in September 2011. The photographs, artifacts and publications in the exhibition all come from UNDEF projects around the world.





03 May 2011

Welcome to the latest issue of UNDEF Update, the newsletter of the United Nations Democracy Fund. This electronic quarterly provides a user-friendly snapshot of what we do, how we work and why.





25 April 2011

Cyber-attacks by the state, politically-motivated censorship, and government control over internet infrastructure have emerged as especially prominent threats to freedom in the internet, according to an UNDEF-funded report compiled by Freedom House.





05 April 2011

A compendium of ten exemplary UNDEF-funded projects was compiled by Dr. Lincoln Mitchell of Columbia University. It draws on his meta-evaluation of UNDEF's First Round of Funding.



14 March 2011

In Algeria -- as in Tunisia and Egypt -- greater participation by women is crucial to building better governance and genuine democracy. UNDEF has just launched a new initiative to strengthen the leadership of Algerian women in political parties, trade unions and professional associations.



07 March 2011

The following is an excerpt from testimony by Ted Piccone, Deputy Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, to the hearing on "Reforming the United Nations" held by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 3 March.



28 February 2011

After 12 years of civil war in Burundi, the challenge is to keep addressing the divisive factors that drove the country's brutal armed conflict, while finding ways to nurture the country's fragile democracy. An UNDEF funded initiative trains women to take up leadership positions, and thus improve governance in the country as a whole.



24 February 2011

Somalia is one of the world’s most challenging environments in which NGOs can operate. A new project funded by UNDEF in Somaliland works to raise women’s awareness of their rights and how to exercise them. Implemented by the local Women’s Integrated Network.



24 February 2011

Reflecting the crucial and historic era for democratization efforts worldwide, the list of countries contributing to UNDEF grew to 40 in February 2011, with Argentina becoming the latest donor to the Fund. UNDEF depends entirely on voluntary contributions from Member States and is supported by a range of countries of varying size and income level.



11 February 2011

Ensuring women's participation will be key to building a democratic and well-governed Egypt. Although women were granted full political rights more than 50 years ago, they have yet to achieve equal access to decision-making positions and participatory democracy. An UNDEF-backed initiative aims to strengthen women's participation, including in the coming elections.



31 January 2011

Welcome to the latest issue of UNDEF Update, the newsletter of the United Nations Democracy Fund. This electronic quarterly provides a user-friendly snapshot of what we do, how we work and why.





14 January 2011

The political participation of women will be critical in building the way forward in Tunisia after the historic events of early 2011. An UNDEF-funded project uses communication campaigns to promote a positive image of leadership by women from diverse backgrounds, improve awareness of women's rights, and advance gender equality.





13 January 2011

An UNDEF-funded project has launched a guide to developing accurate voter lists in transitional democracies. The handbook is based on a comparative analysis of transitional countries in Europe, including Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, and Moldova.





07 January 2011

An UNDEF-funded project has launched a guide to developing accurate voter lists in transitional democracies. The handbook is based on a comparative analysis of transitional countries in Europe, including Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, and Moldova.



05 January 2011

An UNDEF-funded initiative has developed a widely sought after Arabic-language legal search engine on human rights and humanitarian law. The engine,, makes it possible for even those without legal training to gain easy and systematic access to human rights instruments by searching by theme, date or country.



10 November 2010

Welcome to the latest issue of UNDEF Update, the newsletter of the United Nations Democracy Fund. This electronic quarterly provides a user-friendly snapshot of what we do, how we work and why.





23 September 2010

President Obama made special mention of the UN Democracy Fund in his address to the General Assembly on 23 September, saying "it’s time for every Member State... to increase the UN Democracy Fund". He spoke of democracy as the form of government that delivers most for citizens.



21 September 2010

UNDEF Executive Head Roland Rich met on 21 September with María Otero, United States Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs and Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.



15 September 2010

Governments spoke candidly at an event on the International Day of Democracy about their individual countries’ journeys towards democratic governance, reflected on the challenges ahead, and reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Democracy Fund.



03 September 2010

Roland Rich, Executive Head of UNDEF, was interviewed by Bill Miller for his program Global Connections. The interview was taped on 5 August. In the course of the interview Mr Rich discusses UNDEF projects and answers questions relating to democracy and the democratization process. The Interview is being shown on UNTV.



28 July 2010

Welcome to the latest issue of UNDEF Update, the newsletter of the United Nations Democracy Fund. This electronic quarterly provides a user-friendly snapshot of what we do, how we work and why.






09 June 2010

In Palestine, UNDEF funds a project to build leadership capacity among youth and establish forums for them to participate in democratic processes and promote democratic principles in their communities.



10 May 2010

Welcome to the latest issue of UNDEF Update, the newsletter of the United Nations Democracy Fund. This electronic quarterly provides a user-friendly snapshot of what we do, how we work and why.






19 April 2010

On Kenya’s independence in 1963, when the constitution was negotiated in London, only one woman delegate from Kenya was present. Women’s rights and issues were largely ignored in the document that emerged. Despite numerous constitutional amendments since then, women and minorities in Kenya face considerable challenges in asserting their rights.



30 March 2010

Anthony Kwame Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University and a member of the UNDEF Advisory Board for 2010-11, spoke at the Board's Spring meeting on 29 March. His remarks were a concise yet profound reflection on the nature and philosophy of democracy.


01 January 2010

Forty-one organizations in more than 30 countries successfully negotiated and signed Fourth Round project documents with UNDEF during 2010, and are now implementing these new projects with UNDEF funding. The list will be updated in 2011 as more Fourth Round grantees complete their negotiations.