International IDEA's Electoral Risk Management Tool (ERMTool) is now available free online. The tool was launched during the 6th Global Electoral Organization (GEO) Conference in Incheon, Republic of Korea in October 2013. Subsequent launches have taken place at UN Headquarters in New York, and at the Mission of Switzerland to the European Union in Brussels. International IDEA was also invited to present the ERMTool during the World Forum for Democracy hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (a recording is available under lab 9).
The ERMTool is designed to empower users in organizing or supporting peaceful and credible elections. It assists in identifying the possible triggers for violence before it occurs at different stages of the electoral cycle, and helps users devise appropriate measures to avert it.
The ERMTool meets a global need for those with a responsibility for, or interest in, preventing and mitigating election-related violence, such as electoral management bodies (EMBs), security sector agencies, civil society and other state and non-state actors.
Developed and tested in Colombia and Sri Lanka, the ERM Tool was revised and then deployed successfully during the Bosnian local government elections in 2012, and the Kenyan national elections earlier this year. The ERMTool was also used by the Election Commission of Nepal during the recent Constituent Assembly elections. The High National Election Commission of Libya is also making use of the ERM Tool in preparation for their next elections.
During the European launch in Brussels, H.E Ambassador Ajay Kumar Bramdeo, African Union Ambassador to the EU and ACP Group of States, said “It’s good to see that International IDEA lives up to its name and remains at the cutting edge of development.”
“One of the strengths of the ERMTool” according to the IEBC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan during the UN launch, is that “We [Kenya] had different institutions having their own way of mitigating violence, the Police, the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, but this tool brought us together… so this really brought in a synergy between all the actors in the peace architecture.” Ahmed Issack Hassa also noted that “the maps gave us the opportunity to look at the county and see which areas required action and by whom.”
The tool is designed to assist EMBs to bring into focus critical aspects of electoral processes and improve their management practices. But it can also be applied in situations where election related violence is not an immediate challenge, like in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"The ERMTool project" said Commissioner Irena Hadžiabdić of the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina “helped us to better prepare and evaluate elections. And we would like to recommend this tool to all EMBs. It helped to estimate electoral risk, not necessarily related to the conflict and security; improve election management; and increased confidence in the election process.”
"The African Union sees the need for this tool to be used by EMBs, because EMBs are a central stakeholder in elections" said Mr Idrissa Kamara representative of the African Union Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit during the ERMTool launch at the GEO conference. The same was reiterated by Shumbana Karume during the ERMT launch in Brussels. Idrissa Kamara also said "by empowering EMBs to understand and be able to make informed decisions is something we endorse and therefore the African Union is currently partnering with International IDEA to promote the use of this tool."
The ERM Tool will be promoted in a joint project between International IDEA and the African Union as a capacity building instrument for African EMBs, starting with Nigeria ahead of their 2015 election.