The project "Pro-Electoral Integrity: Project in Support to Electoral Integrity in Africa" is funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFA) and via the African Union Commission’s Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (AUC-PAPS) aims at contributing to peace and security through the development of a common culture of resilience and shared values around integrity in electoral processes, by strengthening the capacities of African EMBs in conducting their own credible and inclusive elections.
The project develops from the MoU signed between ECES and the AUC-PAPS in May 2021. Following exchanges between ECES and the AU-PAPS, the "Pro-Electoral Integrity" project was conceived and designed to provide technical support to a broad range of electoral stakeholders on the African continent with the overall objective of contributing to the conduct of credible, and inclusive elections in African Union Member States fostering the prevention of electoral conflicts and promotion of electoral integrity.
The project has overall objective of supporting the AUC-PAPS to mainly build the resilience of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and networks of EMBs to contribute to the challenges of electoral contexts to effectively organize elections in accordance with national and international norms and standards of democratic elections.
During the first phase of the project the Italian MOFA supported the implementation of the following activities of the AU:
- The validation workshop of the draft AU Guide on Electoral Assistance to the Member States in Dakar - Senegal (March 2022);
- The meeting aiming at the revival of the 45 EMB members of the African Association of Electoral Authorities (AAEA) following the pandemics in Accra – Ghana (May 2022);
- The workshop of AU Member States representatives and experts for the "Validation of the AU strategy for the inclusion of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in the school curricula” in Abidjan – Ivory Coast (August 2022);
- A similar workshop to validate the "African Union Guidelines on Constitutional Amendments" in Niamey – Niger (August 2022);
- The 6th African Transnational Justice Forum titled: "The State of transnational justice in Africa: Transnational Justice and Social Capital in Africa" (the first in presence after the COVID pandemic) in Lome – Togo (September 2022);
- The General Assembly of the Association of African Electoral Authorities (AAEA) and the African Union 7th annual continental forum of EMBs titled: "Building Resilience of Election Management Bodies to Safeguard Democracy in Africa", both held in Maputo, Mozambique (November 2022).
Thanks to the fruitful and effective collaboration between ECES and the AUC-PAPS the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to fund the second phase of this project. This new phase will continue the important support of the Italian MOFA and ECES to the AU focussing on conflict prevention and post-conflict peace building.
The proposed implementation period for this second phase is 12 months. Particularly, the project will aim at implementing the following actions:
- Organization of the 8th annual continental forum of EMBs in Benin. Beyond the promotion of professional standards and of a common culture of prevention of electoral violence, the success of this upcoming event will help building a community of EMB leaders who share common values, jointly work towards the consolidation of integrity in elections, and support each other’s especially when facing challenges related to their offices.
- In the same vein, the project will support a series of “peer support missions” to provide EMB leaders facing an election with opportunities to exchange about potential challenges and issues, building on the experience of the peers and the moral support they can provide. The pressure that is put on the shoulders of leaders of EMBs is indeed such that this kind of understanding and listening opportunities can be instrumental to facilitate the leaders in their sound decision-making, while protecting their independence.
- The project will also support a Continental training for Core teams of election observation missions, delivered in the 4 official languages of the AU. This will enable the AU Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (AUC DEAU) to strengthen its database of expert observers with specialized skills in legal, political media, gender and electoral administration expertise.
With the objective of continental promotion of the AU Guidelines on Constitutional Amendments and Pedagogic toolkit for rule of law stakeholders, the project will support the development and validation of further African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) material.
Finally, the African Union will organize the 7th Continental forum on Transitional Justice (TJ) in Morocco. Beyond the promotion of a common culture of transitional justice, this upcoming event will help building a community of practitioners who share common value and jointly work towards the consolidation of TJ principles.