MoU to strengthen democracy and promote electoral reform in the SADC region
On 18 August 2015, International IDEA and the Electoral Commissions Forum of the SADC countries (ECF SADC) signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing the partnership between the two organisations.
Building on past initiatives but also looking at current challenges confronting electoral commissions in the region, the newly signed MoU sets out six key areas of collaboration:
- Strengthening EMB performance audit frameworks
- Promoting electoral reform
- Building capacities in elections-related security and electoral risk management
- Increasing access to information and knowledge on media and elections
- Promoting awareness around issues related to money in electoral processes
- Enhancing women and youth participation in electoral processes
It was signed in the connections with the ECF SADC Annual General Conference that took place on 17-18 August in Luanda, Angola.
Collaboration between International IDEA and the ECF SADC has taken place over a longer period of time. Previous joint efforts includes, amongst others, the development of capacities of EMB commissioners and staff through the delivery of BRIDGE workshops.
ECF SADC, IDEA and UNDP also organised the New Commissioners Orientation workshop targeting member EMBs recently appointed commissioners and senior staff. The purpose was to introduce and discuss key concepts and ideas as well as hands-on electoral management issues. Last year, International IDEA provided technical support to the ECF SADC in developing a framework for undertaking peer-to-peer EMB performance audit to further strengthen the networks operational capacities in supporting one another in enhancing electoral integrity.
The nature of joint efforts will differ but may entail for example undertaking joint research and develop knowledge products aiming to document experiences from the region, developing forums for dialogue and consensus-building, capacity development, peer-learning and exchange.
Later this year, and in the context of the MoU, the two organisations are planning to organize a roundtable on elections and youth to discuss and exchange experiences from the work that electoral commissions may contribute to promote youth participation in electoral processes.
The ECF SADC is an independent organisation gathering electoral management bodies from 14 SADC countries. Established in 1998, the ECF SADC has a mandate to strengthen co-operation amongst electoral commissions and promote conditions conducive to free, fair, credible and transparent elections in the SADC region. This mandate resonates with International IDEA’s goal and work towards promoting the integrity of electoral processes