Credible electoral processes are essential for conferring legitimacy to the national and local governments and, when successful, they offer the means of channelling social conflict into respectful and constructive debate. On the other hand, elections are often a critical stress test for the peaceful management of country’s political, economic and social divisions and, if this stress is not managed properly, it can lead to conflict and violence with long-lasting consequences.
Recognizing this important nexus between elections and conflict prevention, EU and UNDP launched a “Sustaining Peace through Elections” project in early 2018, with the aim of supporting joint projects on electoral conflict prevention and mitigation. The project – undertaken jointly by the European External Action Service/Prevention of conflicts, Rule of law/Security Sector Reform, Integrated approach, Stabilisation and Mediation (EEAS/PRISM), the European Parliament (EP), the European Commission (DG DEVCO) and the UNDP, coordinated by the EC-UNDP Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance (JTF) – developed a toolbox of options for use in project design and implementation stages, containing practical examples and solutions on the ways to integrate conflict prevention/mitigation concepts into programmes and projects activities.
As both organizations strive towards more responsive and fit-for-purpose democratic governance and peace-building mechanisms, the toolbox identified various options for strategic programming that can help to anticipate and prevent conflicts. Moreover, the toolbox is also intended as a source of knowledge for numerous stakeholders, including election practitioners, justice and security institutions, civil society, political parties, media and others to improve design, planning and implementation of electoral conflict prevention measures.
The research and development phase conducted through 2018 included desk reviews, country missions, development of a perception survey and culminated with the global conference held in Brussels on 8-10 October 2018. The conference gathered more than 200 electoral stakeholders, including electoral management bodies (EMBs), parliamentarians, civil society organisations (CSOs), media and international organizations from over 60 countries. Ultimately, the toolbox will be housed on a dedicated website, accompanied by a publication and an E-learning platform, to be launched in January 2019.
EU and UNDP are now looking to build upon their 2018 achievements and maintain the momentum of this initiative. For the toolbox to remain a practical tool, it must be a living document which is periodically updated based on the feedback from the field and further analysis. With this in mind, several pilot-projects are already planned for late 2018 and early 2019, where the toolbox will be used for the first time. Based on the feedback from the projects the tools will be further edited and expanded.
Against this backdrop and as the next step, the JTF will continue the project aiming at: 1) maintaining and expanding the toolbox, ensuring it remains a relevant and practical tool for the EU and UNDP in designing and implementing electoral conflict projects; 2) supporting development and implementation of joint EU-UNDP projects dealing with prevention of electoral conflict; and 3) providing limited, targeted funding for country-level projects.
Therefore, particular focus of the follow-up project will be on expanding and further developing this strategy, based on a premise that societies with strong democratic institutions are more resilient to electoral conflict. Consequently, prevention of electoral conflict cannot be limited to any single electoral period, be it pre-electoral, electoral or post-electoral; rather, it must be implemented throughout electoral cycle. A democratic strengthening approach attempts to view assistance through a wide-angle lens, to include all the stakeholders in a comprehensive, long-term vision to strengthen the resilience of the democratic system as a whole, including electoral authorities, judiciary, parliaments, civil society organizations, media and others.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the overall guidance of the UNDP Senior Electoral Advisor of the Joint EC-UNDP Task Force on Electoral Assistance (JTF) in close cooperation with the other team members, the Junior electoral conflict prevention consultant will:
Ability and willingness to work as part of a dynamic, multi-tasking team.
Required Skills and Experience
Advanced university degree (MA) in the field of International relations, Law, Political Science or related subject. Significant experience may be considered in lieu of an advanced university degree.
Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on Globaljobs.org