The European Centre for Electoral Support reiterates its commitment to supporting stakeholders in the organisation of elections in EMBs, said Mr Fabio Bargiacchi, Founder and Executive Director of ECES, in his opening speech at the 8th annual continental forum of Electoral Management Bodies, held on 1 and 2 November in Cotonou.
In the same vein, Mr Bargiacchi recalled the electoral assistance provided by ECES in more than 50 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, thanks to funding from the European Union and its Member States, as part of its strategy entitled "A European response in support of the electoral cycle - EURECS".
"The importance of this conference cannot be overstated. We are honoured to contribute to the eighth annual AU EMB continental forum by exploring ways to strengthen the relationship between EMBs and stakeholders through effective strategic communication," he said.
According to him, ECES' collaboration with the African Union Commission has been consolidated, in particular, by the memorandum of understanding signed in May 2020 with Commissioner Bankole, aimed at strengthening the collective commitment to electoral integrity, conflict prevention, human rights and the political empowerment of women.
This memorandum of understanding, it should be remembered, has made it possible to launch the 'Pro Electoral Integrity' in Africa project, generously supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
In the same vein, our executive director stressed the importance of ECES' partnership with the Association of African Electoral Authorities, which is a vital platform linking 48 heads of EMBs in Africa for mutual learning, peer exchanges and the sharing of best practices. As part of this partnership, ECES contributed to the drafting of the AAEA guidelines on communication and social media, and the deployment of AAEA solidarity missions to the Liberia National Electoral Commission for the recent 12 October elections, and to the Kenya Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in 2022 for the 9 August elections.
In the wake of the 8th continental forum, the ECES Director stressed that this theme resonates deeply with the ECES vision. "Effective communication by EMBs is essential to cultivate trust and foster a peaceful climate between all stakeholders. And the role of communication and the media in building public confidence in electoral processes and EMBs is undeniably vital," he stressed. He reiterated, once again, ECES' commitment to collaborate with the AU, the AAEA and all African EMBs. He also listed the tools that ECES has developed with its long-standing partner Democracy Essentials through the development of the Global Election Management System (GEMS), which enables the ultimate goal of informed decision-making in election management.