IPD was founded in 1986, the year the Marcos dictatorship fell. At its inception, it sought to maximize and broaden the emergent democratic space by actively promoting pluralism within the progressive movement and building coalitions for unified intervention in crucial national issues. It has always defined itself as an agent for democratization in the Philippines, seeking to enhance the capabilities of non-government organizations, people's organizations and progressive political formations.
Over the years, IPD has developed institutional specialization in political research and advocacy. It pioneered in the innovative analysis of elite politics and initiated education work among non-government organizations and political organizations, focusing on the then-incipient question of local democracy.
Ten years have brought profound and wide-ranging changes in the local, national and global environments, notably the consolidation of neo-liberal agenda, the onslaught of globalization and the collapse of socialist alternatives. Progressive groups are increasingly looking at the sphere of “open politics” as strategic sites of struggle, searching for ways to intervene and accumulate strength in the arenas of civil society and open politics: elections, public discourse, governance, policy advocacy, local democracy and development.
In the context of shifting political and economic conditions, research assumes a paramount role in the pursuit of new intellectual and political instruments. It is the bedrock of all our advocacies and engagements. IPD research and advocacy in democracy and development are organized along local, national and global dimensions.
Today, IPD is engaged in research and advocacy in five strategic areas of work: political reform, local governance, social movements, sustainability and international exchange .