Preventing Election-Related Conflict and Potential Violence (PEV)


The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) has developed a unique two-pronged approach to prevent and manage election-related conflict and violence. The PEV approach form is part of ECES already copyright protected strategy “European Response to Electoral Cycle Support (EURECS).


The PEV approach is the broader framework of a number of activities, also copyright protected by ECES namely the training curriculum Leadership and Conflict Management for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) methodology and the research methodology, Electoral Political Economy Analysis (EPEA).


What is the PEV approach?


The PEV approach is composed of several ECES copyrighted activities, fitted into two phases: one preventative phase and one management phase. The preventative phase entails understanding the rules of the game in a certain electoral context via the EPEA, identify key electoral stakeholders that hold potential to assist in election conflict prevention, and capacitate them using the LEAD curriculum. This preventative phase is about establishing a level of readiness amongst national and grassroots actors and assist, coordinate and advise on a robust response to electoral conflicts by tackling its root causes. The second phase is focusing on intervening to manage an already erupted electoral conflict. This is done by utilizing the platforms of electoral stakeholders that was established under phase one. It also entails triggering interventions amongst the national and grassroots actors to employ conflict management and mediation & dialogue skills in electoral contexts. The second phase must always be documented as case studies to draw lessons on interventions and see how to use the lessons learned in other situations, contexts, and elections. As such, the PEV approach also serves as i) systematic data gathering on election conflict prevention: causes and effects and, ii) case studies that are fed into the LEAD curriculum taught to other electoral stakeholders as a real-life sample of election conflict prevention at work.


Why is it unique?


The uniqueness of the PEV approach also lies in the sequencing of phase one and two: the phases can and should overlap for achieving the best impact. The PEV approach should be employed all around the electoral cycle and focus on preventing root cases to electoral conflicts that can arise from within the electoral cycle i.e. internal. This approach requires partnerships and close collaboration with the competent body mandated to administer elections in the country referred to as the electoral management body (EMB). The preventative stage equally focuses on preventing root causes that are external to the electoral cycle itself, with that we refer to as a conflict that has its origin in other socio-economic factors but plays out in the electoral space, and impact negatively on electoral events or targeting electoral stakeholders.


This two-pronged approach is unique to the election conflict prevention field since it offers a systematic response to electoral conflicts and violence that is not dependent on a specific set of conditions, law, and rules, or a specific type of election. It combines prevention with management and seeks to work with all electoral stakeholders. The tools and skills that are left behind are durable and remains relevant over time.


The PEV approach has been developed by ECES via lessons learned from having implemented more than 82 projects to assist aspects of or entire electoral processes, whereby amongst those, three EU-funded projects had a clear-cut election conflict prevention aim allowing ECES to refine and crystalize the approach into a defined strategy applicable to all elections and contexts. These projects employing the PEV approach are (were): PEV-SACD (Preventing Election-Related Violence and Potential Violence in the Sothern African Development Communities – SADC region) 2013 - 2016, PEV-RSA (Project to Prevent, Mitigate and Manage Election-Related Conflict and Potential Violence in South Africa) 2018 – 2020 and, PEV-Ethiopia (Project to Prevent, Mitigate and Manage Election-Related Conflict and Potential Violence in Ethiopia) 2019 – 2021.


The “PEV” brand is, therefore, something that ECES is already associated with and hence, all the more reason to link the approach to our organization via a defined and well-tested approach i.e. “Preventing Election-Related Conflict and Potential Violence (PEV)” - approach.