Meeting Notes - June 04, 2012
Elections and Stability in West Africa
Kendra Collins, rapporteur
A large number of elections have been conducted in West African countries in recent years, and these elections provide insights into some of the strengths and weaknesses of the electoral process. Successful transfers of power in countries such as Senegal, Guinea, and Niger have resulted in significant progress toward peace and stability in the region.
However, the region has also seen election-related crises, and election-related violence remains a concern. Coups took place just before scheduled elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau in March and April of 2012, in addition to earlier high-profile cases of election violence in Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.
There is a consensus emerging that in African states with structural and institutional weaknesses, especially those emerging from years of conflict, increasing attention should be paid to creating conditions conducive to holding elections, and a regional conference was convened in May 2011 in Praia, Cape Verde to discuss elections and stability in the region.
This meeting note summarizes an IPI roundtable discussion following up on the Praia conference, organized in partnership with the UN Electoral Assistance Division (UN EAD). The report identifies a new paradigm for electoral assistance—one that integrates conflict-prevention strategies; gives increased attention to the political, not just technical, aspects of the electoral process; and views elections as one component of a longer-term commitment to building democracy.
To strengthen international electoral assistance, the note recommends the following best practices, among others:
- Instead of focusing only on the first round of elections in postconflict contexts, electoral support should be designed and delivered in a way that empowers domestic actors and institutions to organize their own elections in a sustainable manner.
- Expensive, high-tech solutions may not always be appropriate; electoral assistance should be cost-effective and focus on building confidence in the electoral process among contestants and voters alike.
- The relationship between international assistance providers should seek to maximize comparative advantages, encouraging collaboration not competition.
The Global Observatory
Nelson Mandela: Man and Awesome Phenomenon
A former member of the South African Parliament reflects on Mandela's warmth and generosity.
Ordinary Fears, Extraordinary Man: The Legacy of Nelson Mandela
As a young South African diplomat during the apartheid-to-democracy transition, Cedric de Coning witnessed the humility and power of a flawed statesman.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2013: The Multilateral Arena
Ten key issues that are likely to impact global affairs in international peace, security, and development.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
December 02, 2013
Latin America Focus of Fourth ''Being a Peacekeeper'' Event
On December 2-3, IPI brought together 24 representatives from eleven Latin American countries with senior officials from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to discuss the current state—as well as the future—of Latin American military and police contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.
November 28, 2013
Energy and Security in the Arctic: A New “Frozen” Conflict?
Is the Arctic a “region of cooperation,” or will competition for its potentially rich energy resources lead to conflict in the high north? This was the main question addressed during an expert workshop held in The Hague on November 28th by the International Peace Institute together with the International Gas Union and the Clingendael International Energy Programme.
November 22, 2013
Can Technology Play a Role in Drafting a Constitution?
The effects that new technologies can have on constitutional processes was the topic of this November 22nd IPI roundtable discussion. Approximately five new constitutions are written around the world every year, and their legitimacy is increasingly influenced by a new level of public participation in their drafting, not merely by a plebiscite on the final text. As rapidly advancing technology changes the way that governments and citizens interact, what role are new technologies playing in constitutions?
December 09, 2013
Heraldo Muñoz on Benazir Bhutto's Assassination
December 03, 2013
IPI Editor Adam Lupel Quoted on the Politics of Genocide [IRIN News]
November 26, 2013
Video: Addressing the Crisis in the Central African Republic