Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) workshop

  • This Sydney event was a precursor to the December 2015 publication of the SAFE workshop curriculum. The Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) workshop bridges theory and practice on a fundamental element of the electoral process: electoral security. This workshop intends to contribute to a holistic understanding of electoral security. The workshop material presents international experience and lessons learned, along with phenomena such as social media, two-way communications, technology mapping, and the latest academic methodologies to analyse the integrity of (and threats to) electoral processes. 

The Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE): Policy and Practice for Election Management Bodies workshop was organized jointly by UNDP, the Electoral Integrity Project, and International IDEA. It took place at the University of Sydney from Sunday 28 September to Wednesday 1 October 2014.

The course was designed for election commissioners and staff from Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in countries that faced electoral risks with the potential to cause an electoral security problem. The workshop aimed to obtain fundamental analysis, planning, and implementation skills to develop appropriate and effective measures to prevent, manage, or mediate electoral risk and conflict. Over four days, the program combined lectures, case studies, and participant engagement in classroom exercises, as well as an individual project.


Day One: Electoral Conflict and Security: Overview of Concepts and Actors

The first day introduced participants to the concepts of electoral security, electoral conflict/violence and electoral justice and illustrate the role of the EMB within this framework. It built on the role of the EMB by illustrating, from regional and country experience, the main actors in causing and mitigating electoral conflict, and gave each country an opportunity to present its most recent experience on electoral security.

Day Two: Mapping Risks to the Electoral Process

The second day led participants through different methodologies for analyzing risks to the electoral process. It covered historical, social, political and economic risk factors and placed them in the context of the potential for pre, election-day and post-election conflict. It also highlighted successful initiatives for mapping electoral risks such as crowd sourcing, GIS mapping of hotspots and the use of the latest information and communication technology. Each country was responsible for developing a framework for analyzing electoral risks and produced a risk-assessment for electoral conflict in their country. The day concluded with countries presenting their mapping of electoral risks to the course.

Day Three: Developing Programme Interventions for EMBs to Mitigate Electoral Risk and Conflict

The third day moved from a focus on analyzing the largest risks to the electoral process to an analysis of the types of programming EMBs can implement to minimize and mitigate electoral conflict. It illustrated how an EMB can solidify its integrity and using regional and global examples showed how EMBs have effectively programmed to mitigate electoral risk and conflict. Participants were taken through a programming framework for developing interventions and the day concluded with participants developing an electoral security analysis and programming response to a case-study. 

Day Four: Development of Electoral Security Frameworks 

The first part of the day featured a role play. Here the breakout groups from the previous afternoon swapped the completed analysis of the case studies and brainstormed on how they could destabilize the electoral process in the case-study. This purpose of this was to raise the level of interventions that countries develop for their own Electoral Security Frameworks.

After this session the course tasked participants with developing electoral security plans for their country’s next electoral cycle, based on the analysis they completed over the first three days. This plan included an assessment of the possible threats, outreach mechanisms for political parties and non- state stakeholders, and an organizational plan for EMB/security force coordination and management. The day concluded with each country presenting their completed electoral security framework back to the course.

Meeting documents