ECOWAS, Partners Review Long-Term Election Observation Missions in West Africa

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AS part of the efforts to improve the integrity of major elections in West Africa and deepen democracy in the region, the ECOWAS and its development partners are organising a two-day workshop on February 27 and 28 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to review the organisation’s Long-Term Election Observation Missions, LTEOMs.

The main objective of the workshop is to assess the impact of long-term observation approach on the quality of the ECOWAS election observation in order to draw pertinent lessons, benchmark the success stories, address identified challenges and chart the way forward in enhancing the work of the ECOWAS LTEOMs.

Organised by the ECOWAS Election Assistance Division, EAD, under the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, with the support of development partners, particularly the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, the workshop will also assess the usefulness of the ECOWAS Guide for Long-Term Election Observers, LTOs; evaluate their contributions in engaging stakeholders at various levels, and raising interest in electoral processes of Member States.

In the same vein, the workshop will analyse the role of the LTEOMs in identifying potential electoral differences with the aim of triggering preventive diplomacy initiatives by the ECOWAS authorities to avert degeneration into full-blown pre- or post-election conflicts.

The contribution of the LTOs in enhancing the deployment of Short-Term Election Observers will also be assessed as well as the influence of LTOs’ reports in improving the overall quality of the ECOWAS election observation mission reports.

Participants will include experts who have served on previous ECOWAS LTEOMs, staff of the Political Affairs Directorate, including the EAD, and representatives of GIZ and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA.

The workshop will be in four thematic sessions during which participants will share experiences and reflect on various aspects of ECOWAS long-term election observation. The sessions will also assess pre-deployment training, the ECOWAS Guide for Long-term observers, and how best to organise the LTEOMs to optimise their efficiency.

Pursuant to the provisions of the relevant regional instruments, especially the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, ECOWAS has supported and observed major elections in its Member States as part of efforts to strengthen democratic practice in the region.

In response to emerging democratic trends and in order to ensure a more comprehensive assessment of elections in the region, the EAD adopted the long-term observation approach from 2014 to complement the Short-term mechanism.

While the short-term observers concentrated on activities on election days, the Long-term missions have the opportunity to undertake more analytical observation of the critical phases of the electoral processes leading up to, during and after election days.

Since 2014, the ECOWAS, with the support of GIZ, has deployed more than 120 long-term poll observers to 10 member states, which have held elections. The member states are Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Togo, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Cape Verde and Ghana.

— Mar 6, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT

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