On the 27th of October, we participated in the EU Community of Practice (CoP) event on peace mediation.
The CoP is an annual event, that convenes EU and international actors, policymakers, mediation practitioners, experts and representatives of civil society from around the globe, allowing discussions on the current state and the future of EU mediation. The EU peace mediation system is currently facing unprecedented challenges, and the European but also global peace and security architecture is once again concerned. Given this context, the 2022 edition of the CoP will specifically focus on the topic of ‘Mediation in a challenging international environment: building partnerships for sustainable peace'.
In this context, we designed and organized a panel titled: “Mediation support in electoral processes or crises” during which 8 international experts and political actors expressed their views and shared their experiences.
The panel saw the participation of:
- Wafula Chebukati, Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
- Jean Adukwei Mensah, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
- Amb. Calixte Aristide Mbari, Head of Division, Democracy, Governance, Human Rights, and Elections at the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union
- Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, Chairman of the National Cohesion Integration Commission (NCIC)
- H.E. Erastus Mwencha, former Secretary General of COMESA and former Vice Chairman of the AU Commission, member of ECES strategic & advisory committee
- Rindai Vava, Director of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, representing the Electoral Support Network of South African Development Community (ESN SADC)
- Cristina Castagnoli, Head of the Elections Unit of the European Parliament
- Eldrige Adolfo, Senior Dialogue and Peace Mediation Adviser of the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA).
Each other emphasised a specific aspect of election mediation and observation that was summarized by moderator Filiberto C. Sebregondi, Vice President of the Strategic & Advisory Board of ECES.
- Elections are a process more than it is an event.
- Communication, transparency, and countering hate speech are key to ensuring peaceful and fair elections.
- Open and legally based mechanisms for violence prevention and mediation are as complementary to discrete, behind-the-scenes mechanisms to build and maintain peace.
- Involving CSOs at all levels is crucial to prevent violence.
- The roots of electoral violence lay in an identity crisis, tribal and territorial matters, and the social and economic situation of the country in question.
- More synergies between electoral actors at all levels are needed in the future to ensure electoral peace across the globe.