Regional Elect'l Conference
Jordan hosts first regional conference of Arab Elections Management Bodies
DEAD SEA, December 9th, 2019 – The Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Jordan, with the support of the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), on December 9th kicked off a two-day regional conference on the theme of “Electoral Knowledge Sharing among Arab Elections Management Bodies (EMB)”.
Held at the Dead Sea, Jordan, the event brought together a record number of 11 EMBs’ representatives from Arab speaking countries including Comoros, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen, in addition to Jordan. Other guest countries include Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Djibouti.
“This conference gives us the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge, which is at the core of our partnership,” stated Dr Khalid al-Kalaldeh, IEC Chairman and Secretary General of the ArabEMBs, in his keynote address to an audience of over 200 attendees, adding “we need to continuously learn from each other, including the difficult lessons as this is our duty in order to better serve our people.”
The two-day conference was organised in the framework of the European Union-funded programme “EU Support to Jordanian Democratic Institutions and Development – EU-JDID” and aimed to reinforce the establishment of a platform of dialogue between Arab EMBs. The Arab Network of EMBs was officially launched in June 2015 to “promote good governance and democracy, and to disseminate the elections’ culture and increase its credibility across the region.”
For his part, ECES co-founder and Executive Director, Fabio Bargiacchi, commented: “In Jordan, we were lucky to have the trust of the EU and the IEC to implement this project in support of capacity development of the electoral commission and other electoral stakeholders in the democratisation process of the country. Therefore, we are extremely proud to be here at the First Regional Electoral Conference of Arab EMBs to discuss this and other topics such as the IEC ISO certification, adn to give a platform where other EMBs of the region will have the possibility to hear about comparative experiences".
“For the EU it is very important to promote democratic governance, human rights and rule of law in the countries of our neighbourhood. This conference is of particular importance in this regard because it shows not only the role that Jordan can play in the region buut also the cooperation with the EU and implementing agencies like ECES in supporting the countries to adress similar problems they're faced with and find similar solutions,” said EU Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou.
The conference covered a variety of elections-related topics including regional cooperation, voters’ accessibility, youth and women participation in decision making processes, media, fake news and cyber security, among others.
Faten al-Younis, representative of the Lebanese Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, emphasised the importance of such conferences and support from ECES and the European Union. “We are here to benefit further from the discussions between participants as well as from the contribution of the EU, ECES and international experts who will tackle important topics for all of us such as the voting age and its effect, the dominance of the political party system in parliament in Arab countries particularly Lebanon.”
She stressed the necessity of learning from others’ experience ahead of the 2022 parliamentary elections slated in her country.
In addition to the organisation of this conference, ECES is also providing technical support and assistance to the IEC in numerous areas, foremost of which was the obtention of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification in Quality Management System for electoral organisations in October 2019. The IEC thereby became the first Arab EMB to be ISO certified.
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