The Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum III is a continuing engagement between EMBs and NGOs in Asia with the aim of strengthening cooperation in order to enhance the state of democratic elections in the region. This year, AESF-3 is to be celebrated in Bali, Indonesia with the support and cooperation of the General Elections Commission Republic of Indonesia or the KomisiPemilihanUmum (KPU) Indonesia. KPU has always been actively engaged since the 1st AESF in Bangkok, Thailand on December 11-12, 2012 that led to the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration on Free and fair elections by Asian Stakeholders. ((http://aesforum.anfrel.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Bangkok-Declaration-on-Free-and-Fair-Elections-ENG.pdf)). The KPU is successful in advancing democratic elections in Indonesia to be more transparent and credible. The second AESF convened stakeholders in Dili, capital of the Republic Democratic of Timor-Leste (RDTL) on March 18-19, 2015 with the support of the Commission National of Elections (CNE). The forum gathered 120 delegates from 27 Countries, including members of the Comunidade dos Paises de Lingua Portuguesa (CPLP) or the Community of Portuguese speaking countries. The Dili conference agreed and came up with the “Dili Indicators on Democratic Elections” to be used as a guide to assess election credibility.
- Strengthening EMBs and NGOs Effort to Enhance Transparency and Integrity for Quality Elections :
In the emerging technology and information era, we have witnessed the wide-ranging benefits of using tools and applications to aid in information exchange. The ICT dynamics have changed the people’s way of life demanding faster, better, and transparent services. The society is part of the change and every individual has a significant involvement to make information accessible and to make elections more inclusive.
The Technology also several elections related undertakings by both EMBs (Elections Management Body) and Civil Society Organizations across the globe, including in Asia. The increased confidence in the use of ICT has contributed to the complicated work of election administration and election observation. The ICT has undeniably demonstrated the capability to promote transparency and increase public confidence that contribute to the integrity and quality of the elections. However, there is also a need for sound electoral laws and regulation complemented with strict enforcement and implementation to contribute to the goals of advancing electoral integrity.
Asia is home to countries with diverse social, political, economic, and cultural background. Such diversity also gives the region different kinds of electoral challenges that varies from administration, technical level, to the governance of electoral laws and their enforcement. However, the intention to make elections more transparent elections shall be addressed in all phases of the electoral cycle and by combining conventional and more modern (use of ICT) approaches to give credence to the process and promote public trust to elections itself.
Program Description and Objective
The conference is designed as two-day event wherein the proceedings will be carried with both plenary and breakout meeting sessions to discuss issues related to the advancement of free and fair elections consistent with the principles set forth in the Bangkok Declaration and Dili indicators for Democratic Elections. The third AESF will work on the theme “ Transparency and Integrity for Quality Elections” to be promoted across the countries in the Asian region. The program’s sessions will be designed to allow participants to share their own experiences and to learn from the experiences of others seeking to overcome obstacles to holding free and fair elections in Asia.
The participants are mainly EMBS (Election Management Bodies) and CSOs from Asian Countries and INGOs who are working in relation to the promotion of democracy in their respective countries in the region. For wider engagement and better learning process, the conference also welcomes participants from outside the region to share the Asian experience of bringing together EMBs and CSOs in order to achieve a common goal and to also build a wider network.