ECES implements its activities and projects focusing on sustainable strategies taking into account the complex political circumstances and the consequences of any electoral support.
ECES carries out identification, formulation and implementation of its projects taking on board the direct experience of over 60 contracts signed since February 2012 and the electoral field experience of the founders and the personnel of ECES; that taken together, allows ECES to implement projects considering lessons learned and experiences of over 70 electoral processes around the world. Building upon donors' evaluations of the electoral support programmes of the last 10 years, ECES focuses on the promotion of sustainable long-term capacity development throughout the electoral cycle, without detracting from the crucial activity of supporting electoral events and operations.
ECES, in partnership with the Euopean Partneship for Democracy (EPD), has developped a strategy called "A European Response to Electoral Support - EURECS". EURECS outlines the lessons learned accumulated over the last five years from ECES and EPD members in support to electoral and democratisation processes. The main aim of the EURECS is to offer the EU, its Member States, other European donors and beneficiary countries an innovative delivery mechanism for electoral and democracy assistance to implement projects and programmes that are consistent with European values and EU policies. A specific paper related to EURECS was officially presented during the International Day of Democracy celebrated at the European Parliament on the 28th of September 2016.
Within the context of its work, ECES is specialised in effective handling of the very complex and delicate set of interactions among the Electoral Management Bodies, Multilateral and Bilateral Development Agencies, Governments, Civil Society Organizations, Political Parties and Providers of electoral material & services. The proper management of this set of relationships requires specific skills that ECES has developed, going well beyond the pure technical advice. This is achieved by implementing the following:
- Grounding electoral support more firmly within the political context/circumstances of the beneficiary state by using the political economy analysis approach as a tool to help identifying the approrpriate kind of support needed, as well as the risks associated with non-workable strategies, identified by formulation missions.
- Promoting political dialogue as an integral part of the electoral assistance planning; also, by developing regional, national and local capacities for dialogue and mediation for the consensual and inclusive management of transitions and the prevention and mitigation of electoral and political conflicts.
- Integrating electoral assistance projects with other activities that are carried out in the fields of democracy and development support more broadly, including women‘s empowerment, leadership development, parliamentary and political party support, and having a strategy for stabilisation and recovery, combining rule of law, access to justice and security.
- Using strategic, operational and financial planning as a tool to ensure a phased approach within the cycle that donors, governments and electoral stakeholders could easily support, and having benchmarks and indicators, which would also help to make long-term electoral assistance more effective in its implementation of measures aimed at improving the credibility of the electoral processes and institutions in place, to build confidence, widen participation, especially of women, and prevent violence.
- Increasing the synergies between domestic, regional and international election observation missions and the electoral assistance, so that the recommendations of the observation missions are routinely treated as a starting point to engage the electoral observers with the EMBs and electoral assistance providers with donors and other electoral stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of electoral assistance projects that promote dialogue, prevent violence (including gender-based violence), boost participation and ensure successful management of electoral processes.
- Increasing the support to national election observation organisations for the development of appropriate and customised methodologies to implement long term observation or permanent observatory, focusing on the most sensitive steps of an electoral cycle such as: delimitation of boundaries, campaign finance, media access, voter registration (including audit of voter register based on biometry and automated fingerprint identification systems), results aggregation, electoral violence and electoral disputes resolution mechanisms.
- Emphasising on building and development of national and local capacities on the ground, connecting country, regional and global levels through the facilitation of south-south cooperation, peer reviews, and exchange of experiences among the EMBs and regional EMB organisations by funding regional and transnational projects.
- Increasing support to regional and national schools of electoral administration and to academic curricula related to electoral studies also via distance education and E-learning programmes using sustainable and cost effective communication technologies. The focus should be on, both, academic and practical comparative experiences to electoral administrators and to those seeking careers as electoral professionals and also targeting the increase of the number of women in electoral administration by enabling them to become electoral administrators.