Cote d'Ivoire: ECOWAS, partners review long-term election observation missions

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its development partners are organising a two-day workshop in the Ivorian capital city of Abidjan to review the impact of the organisation’s Long-Term Election Observation Missions (LTEOMs).

This is as part of its continuing efforts to improve the integrity of major elections in West Africa, in a bid to deepen democracy in the region, ECOWAS said in an official statement obtained by PANA on Sunday.

It said the main objective of the 27-28 February 2017 workshop was to assess the impact of long-term election observation approach on the quality of ECOWAS election observation, for the purpose of drawing pertinent lessons, benchmarking success stories, addressing identified challenges, and charting the way forward in enhancing the work of ECOWAS LTEOMs.

The workshop is being convened 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).

Specifically, it would assess the relevance of the ECOWAS Guide for Long-Term Election Observers (LTOs); evaluate their contributions in engaging stakeholders at various levels, and raise interest in electoral processes of Member States.

The statement said the workshop would also analyse the role of LTEOMs in identifying potential electoral differences with the aim of triggering Preventive Diplomacy initiatives by ECOWAS authorities to prevent the degeneration of electoral disputes into full-blown pre- or post-election conflicts.

"The contribution of 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 ECOWAS Election Observation Mission Reports," it said.

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 statement said the workshop would be in four thematic sessions during which participants would share experiences and reflect on various aspects of ECOWAS long-term election observation.

The sessions would also assess Pre-deployment training, the ECOWAS Guide for Long-term observers, and how best to organise the LTEOMs to optimise their efficiency, it added.

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.

The statement noted that while the short-term observers concentrated on activities on election days, the Long-term missions had the opportunity to undertake more analytical observation of the critical phases of the electoral processes leading up to, during and after election days.

ECOWAS, with the support of GIZ, has deployed more than 120 Long-term poll observers to 10 Member States, which have held elections since 2014. These are Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Togo, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Cape Verde and Ghana.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 26Feb2017

26 february 2017 11:59:04

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