The Election Commission of India is going to host the 10th annual meeting of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) at New Delhi on 24 January 2020 and take over as Chair of FEMBoSA for 2020. On this occasion, an International Conference on the theme ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ is also being organised the same day.
FEMBoSA was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of SAARC Countries held at New Delhi from April 30 to May 2, 2012 through a unanimously adopted resolution on 1st May, 2012 to establish the Forum. The Conference also unanimously adopted the Charter of the Forum. The annual FEMBoSA meeting is held by rotation among the members.
The last (9th) annual meeting of FEMBoSA was held in Dhaka in September 2018. Besides ECI, the other 7 members are EMBs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The FEMBoSA represents a very large part of the democratic world and is an active regional association of the election management bodies of South Asia. The objectives of the Forum are to promote contact among the EMBs of the SAARC countries; share experiences with a view to learning from each other and cooperate with one another in enhancing the capabilities of the EMBs towards conducting free and fair elections.
At the forthcoming FEMBoSA meeting, the delegates would, inter alia, take stock of the activities undertaken by the members during the last year 2019 and discuss/finalise a Work Plan for its members for the year 2020.
An International Conference on ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ would also be organised on 24th Jan 2020. The conference would include, besides delegates from participating FEMBoSA members, participants from Election Managements Bodies (EMBs) of Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgystan Mauritius, Tunisia, and three International Organisations viz. the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) based in Seoul, Republic of Korea; the US based International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and International IDEA.
There will be three sessions during the Conference where representatives from the EMBs and International Organisations will participate and share their experiences, best practices and initiatives taken towards ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ of EMBs in various countries. On this occasion, the January 2020 issue of ECI’s quarterly magazine “Voice International” will be released, which will carry articles on the theme of “Innovative Methods of Voter Registration”.
On the sidelines of the Conference, ECI will also renew Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan.
The previous MoU was signed in April 2008 and expired in April 2013. Besides that, an MoU for cooperation in the field of election management will be signed with the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) of Tunisia as well. Election Commission of India has, so far, signed MOUs with twenty-seven Election Management Bodies and International Organizations viz. Afghanistan, Australia, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Yemen, Zambia and United Nations, Intl. IDEA & IFES.
The International Conference is being organised with the purpose of sharing the experience of different EMB’s, International Institutions and Experts with regard to analysis of barriers, policy interventions, strategies, programmes, good practices and technological innovation for ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ of EMBs. The international delegates will also attend the National Voters’ Day Celebrations in New Delhi on 25th January 2020.