Regional Electoral Support for Middle East and North Africa project

Regional Electoral Support for Middle East and North Africa project

The first phase of this project started in (2014-2016) with the support from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and the second phase of this project has started (2017-2020)

The aim of this initiative is to strengthen regional knowledge and cooperation, enhance coherence in electoral support and reinforce the participation of women and youth throughout the electoral cycle. The overarching development goal was to enhance the credibility, inclusivity, effectiveness and sustainability of electoral institutions and processes in the Middle East and North Africa region.

UNDP Global Project for Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS) provided about 930 advisory services focusing on electoral assistance to Election Management Bodies (EMBs), UNDP Country Offices, and other electoral stakeholders.

The project was able to

- Strengthen regional cooperation through the establishment of the Organization of Arab Electoral Management Bodies (ArabEMBs), as the region’s first network of electoral authorities. The charter was signed in June 2015 and the new organization is in the process of acquiring legal status and establishing a secretariat, possibly in Tunis as per the request of the EMB in Tunisia. In its first year, the organization has increased its members from 6 to 10 EMBs (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen), signed a number of partnership agreements with international organizations, and held thematic regional events for EMBs and other key stakeholders.

-Enhance the capacity of the League of Arab States on internationally accepted principles of good electoral practice through the implementation of trainings using the internationally recognized electoral training curriculum, BRIDGE. The Electoral Affairs Department of the League of Arab States took a policy decision to adopt the BRIDGE curriculum for its training programs and has already incorporated the methodology. The LAS also adopted a Ministerial Council resolution to welcome the holding of a regional Forum on elections to discuss and review Arab electoral experiences, draw lessons learnt, and facilitate a discussion on elections and democratic practices among the 22 member countries. Additionally, EAD of UNDPA, in cooperation with UNDP, supported the LAS in establishing its electoral database and institutional memory which has proved to be of great help to the League in the conduct of its election observation missions. EAD also provided advice to the League and supported its efforts in endorsing the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and its related Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.

-Contribute to expanding the pool of Arab speaking electoral experts in the region through BRIDGE trainings and the accreditation of facilitators.

-Promote the political participation of women through support to and establishment of networks, including the Arab Network on Women, Constitution Making and Legislative Reforms which serves as a platform for members to share their countries experiences, exchange expertise and promote the full participation of women at every level and at every stage of the constitution-making and legislative reforms process.

-Encourage youth engagement in civic and political life by bringing young women and men together with governments and civil society organizations at a regional youth forum to discuss and come up with strategies for more effective involvement of youth at the community level. In partnership with UN Women and UNDP country offices, the project supported two regional youth leadership camps to engage youth on leadership qualities and the key challenges and development solutions for their communities.

-Expand access to electoral information and knowledge through the introduction of courses on electoral topics in academia

EC-UNDP Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance offers online course that aims at helping EU delegation and UNDP country offices staff in formulating and implementing electoral assistance projects in the context of the EC-UNDP partnership.

The UNDP Electoral Support Project for the MENA region has organized in July 2019 innovation camp for youth political participation to develop and share ideas on enhancing youth political participation.

The UNDP Regional Electoral Support Project for Arab States has partnered with ArabEMBs, the Independent Election Commission of Jordan, the Venice Commission to organize a two-day regional conference in Ferbuary 2019 to promote inclusive electoral processes in the Arab States.

The Electoral Support Project for the Arab Region for electoral authorities and the broader election community has organized several webinars to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and elections.

You can check the recording of the all webinars of the webinar series on COVID-19 & Elections. Please, follow @voteArabStates to learn about upcoming webinars

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