A declaration of principles and code of conduct developed by citizen election monitors from around the world was launched today at the United Nations, establishing for the first time global standards for citizen election observation.
Leaders representing 150 citizen election observation groups joined former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, NDI's chairman; Ambassador Lynn Pascoe, UN under-secretary-general; Ambassador Albert Ramdin, OAS assistant secretary general; Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, OSCE/ODIHR director; and others to launch the Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations. The ceremony, which was also attended by representatives from more than a dozen intergovernmental and international nongovernmental organizations, was hosted by the UN Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD) and co-organized by NDI. The Declaration was developed by the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM), which includes 150 member groups from 65 countries on five continents.
“The National Democratic Institute is pleased to be a ‘Supporter of the Declaration.’ The Declaration of Global Principles provides both a practical and ethical structure for citizen election monitoring,” Albright said. “I hope that we will continue to see more countries and organizations endorse and implement the Declaration of Global Principles and the Code of Conduct.”
The Declaration’s launch marks an important milestone in the history of nonpartisan citizen election observation. Since 1986, at least 90 countries have benefited from the efforts of nonpartisan citizen election monitoring, and more than three million citizens have participated as election observers. These efforts have built public confidence in elections and safeguarded electoral integrity.
“It is heartening that so many domestic observer organizations have come together to support and promote the principles behind democratic elections,” Lenarčič said, “principles such as equality, universality, fairness, freedom and competitiveness.”
The declaration was drafted by representatives of the regional networks of election monitors that belong to GNDEM, from Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as from the Middle East and North Africa. NDI helped to create GNDEM, which is the first effort to bring regional observation networks and individual groups together to share knowledge on a global scale. Plus, NDI and UNEAD facilitated the process surrounding the declaration’s development.
“We now have a tool to become a framework and a basis for solidarity, integrity, respect and strengthening of the work of domestic election observers, and for the interplay with the international observer platform,” said Peter Aling’o, executive director of the Kenyan citizen election observation group Institute for Education in Democracy and a drafter of the Declaration.
The declaration is officially supported by the UN Secretariat, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Parliament, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, IFES, International IDEA, OAS, OSCE/ODIHR, The Carter Center, the Center for Electoral Assistance and Promotion, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, Electoral Reform International Services and NDI.
The full text of the declaration may be read at www.gndem.org.
- Read the statements from:
- Global Domestic Election Monitoring Network Seeks to Share Experience
Published April 3, 2012