Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum IV(AESF-IV)
The Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum (AESF) is a continuing engagement between election management bodies (EMBs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Asia. There have already been three successful gatherings since it was first launched in 2012: AESF-1 in Bangkok, Thailand (2012), AESF-2 in Dili, Timor-Leste (2015), and AESF-3 in Bali, Indonesia (2016).
More information on AESF III Bali, Indonesia August 22-26, 2016
The Asian Network for Free Elections, with members across Asia, championed the creation of a mechanism to address common electoral issues while also advancing the rule of law and honoring the cultures, traditional laws and customs of the many peoples who live in Asia. The result is the holding of the first-ever regional gathering of Asian Electoral Stakeholders with the Bangkok Declaration on Free and Fair Elections as its product. The declaration identified the most significant and widespread barriers to free and fair elections in Asia and strengthened the resolve of the Asian people to address them by involving all relevant stakeholders. It was considered a major milestone to Asian electoral democracy. Since then, CSOs have undertaken initiatives to promote the Bangkok Declaration by endorsing and cooperating with EMBs on programs that aim to address and tear down such barriers.
AESF has also drawn the attention of EMBs with the 2nd AESF held in Dili, Timor-Leste with support of the National Commission of Elections (CNE) in March 2015. Asian stakeholders once again gathered together with representatives from other regions that enriched the sharing and discussion. AESF-2 has led to the endorsement of the “Dili Indicators on Democratic Elections” intended to be used as a guide to assess election credibility.
With the Forum becoming one of the most celebrated gatherings of Asian EMBs and CSOs, the 3rd AESF was held a year after the Dili AESF. This time around, Indonesia’s General Election Commission (KPU) supported and co-organized the Forum. The event concluded with the participants endorsing the “Bali Commitment: Electoral Integrity: Eight Keys to Transparency.”
View or download the documents endorsed during the first three AESF:
- Bangkok Declaration on Free and Fair Elections (2012)
- Dili Indicators of Democratic Elections (2015)
- Bali Commitment: Electoral Transparency: Eight Keys to Electoral Integrity (2016)
The 4th AESF, co-hosted by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the Asian Network for Free Elections will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 27 to 28 August 2018. It will once again provide the space and opportunity for electoral management bodies, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to meet and gather to recognize present challenges and commit on ways on how to address them. It will mark a historic milestone for South Asia, being the first AESF to be held in the sub-region.
Representatives from intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations (UN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) are invited in this important event.
The 4th AESF will adopt the theme: “Advancing the Election Transparency and Integrity Agenda: Overcoming Asian Democracy Challenges through Cooperation.” Also, the two-day gathering is designed to center on developing strategies to actually enhance transparency and integrity for credible elections in the region.
The key objectives of AESF-IV are:
- To provide a venue for Election Management Bodies (EMBs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other stakeholders to share and learn about the present electoral challenges as well as best practices in the region.
- To develop and endorse the “Colombo Strategy to Promote and Defend Electoral Democracy in Asia”
- To institutionalize capacity building efforts in making elections more meaningful and credible through cooperation among stakeholders
- To promote inclusiveness in elections by paying special attention to sectoral cooperatio
AESF-IV is designed to be a two-day program that will be comprised of plenary and workshop sessions to discuss the advancement of free and fair elections consistent with the principles set forth in the Bangkok Declaration, Dili Indicators on Democratic Elections, and Bali Commitment: Eight Keys to Integrity.
The Election Commission of Sri Lanka is the constitutional authority responsible for ensuring the universal franchise of citizens of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka by conducting free and fair elections and referendums and preparing the electoral register for this purpose are the functions of the present department. In order to carry out this task the Commissioner of Elections and have been vested a distinctive and unique independency which is occupied by none other government Institutions.
Sri Lanka has had universal adult suffrage since 1931, becoming the first crown colony to enfranchise all adult citizens, 3 years after the United Kingdom itself. Therefore, Sri Lanka is the oldest democratic country in Asia. Prior to the establishment of Sri Lanka Election Commission in 2015, the elections were administrated and organized by the Department of Elections, which was established on October 01,1955 after amalgamating the Departments of Parliamentary Elections and Department Local Government that has been existed till the mid of the decade in 1950s.
The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) is a leading regional network in Asia working on the promotion of democratic elections. Formed in 1997, ANFREL was organized as a solidarity movement working to advance the cause of free and fair elections. At present, it has 26 members from 16 Asian countries. As part of its overall mission of supporting democratization efforts in Asia, ANFREL focuses its work on three major areas: election observation, capacity building, and campaign and advocacy. It takes a holistic approach to achieve its mission, and these programs are designed to complement one another in supporting the advancement of free and fair elections across Asia. Since ANFREL's establishment, it has carried out 57 election observation missions across Asia.
ANFREL draws its strength from its network of Asian civil society organizations. The long-term aim is to build expertise in democratic elections in the region, entrenching a culture of democracy that has emerged from within and is locally developed. ANFREL fosters a spirit of meaningful cooperation and solidarity among its members as it endeavors to strengthen cooperation between them and government institutions in order to overcome the challenges to democracy in Asia.
AESF Programme : Click here to view tentative Agenda
AESF-IV will be held at the Galadari Hotel, 64 Lotus Road, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka (click to see on map)
CONFERENCE DAY TWO