EPD’s member the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) presents the paper “The potential of EU Funded electoral assistance to support the prevention of election related conflict and violence: Lessons from the Southern African Region”.

The research process is part of the project “Preventing Electoral Conflict in the SADC region” (PEV-SADC), implemented by ECES since February 2013 in collaboration with the Election Support Network of Southern Africa (ESN-SA), a network of sixteen election-based civil society organisations united by a common recognition of the inextricable link between elections and the centrality of monitoring human rights throughout the electoral cycle.

The document sums up some of the ECES’ most valuable lessons and experiences learned from the implementation of the regional project in SADC region for close to four years. The empirical material presented is a sample of a much broader research exercise carried out by ECES in partnership with ESN-SA.

One of the key features of the research process is the inclusivity, as key electoral stakeholders – such as the civil society, EMBs, political parties, media, and the judiciary – actively contributed as sounding boards.

This paper has benefitted greatly from the support of key individuals, such as the team of researchers coordinated by Professor Chirambo Kondwani and Ms Rindai Chipfunde Vava from the ESN-SA and ZESN, who shared their experiences from having seen all SADC elections from close range. The document and the related research process were enriched by the synergies and the long-standing mutual collaboration established with institutions such as the European Union – both at headquarters and delegations levels – the Secretariat of the Electoral Commissions Forum of the SADC, and the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa.

With regards to this paper, ECES own core people have contributed both in terms of coordination and content. These are: ECES President, Monica Frassoni; ECES Executive Director, Fabio Bargiacchi; ECES Election Conflict Management Advisor, Victoria Florinder; ECES Head of Programmes, Eva Palmans; and ECES Senior Election Advisor, Vera Lourenco.

The research will ultimately culminate into a handbook that is to be launched in June 2017 during the European Development Days 2017.