Barcelona 2010

Elections, violence and conflict prevention

The Joint Task Force and International IDEA, in collaboration with its partners through the Train4Dev initiatve, the UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), the UNDP Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) and the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center, organized a Thematic Workshop on Elections, Violence and Conflict Prevention in Barcelona 22-26 March 2010.

Elections and electoral processes provides a means by which social conflict can be channeled into a constructive popular deliberation and dialogue with common rules for choosing representatives of the people to fulfill executive and legislative functions.

Robust democratic institutions are usually understood as the ultimate guarantor for social peace.

By providing a framework within which people can voice their concerns through peaceful debate, elections are critical tools for social conflict management.

Credible elections contribute to the creation of legitimate governments that enjoys popular support for programmes and policies and that has the capacity of ensuring community security.

However, because electoral processes are intrinsically about the attainment of political power often in high-stake contexts, elections – as a process of competition for power – can often be catalysts of conflict.

This is especially so when political contesters aim to secure their turf by mobilize along extremist lines to win support.

Moreover, if the electoral process is not perceived to be free and fair and/or where those seeking to retain or gain political power have few or no qualms about resorting to extraordinary measures in order to win, violence and conflict may emerge.

Against this background, the Thematic Workshop on Elections, Violence and Conflict Prevention aimed to look into ways in which electoral assistance programmes and projects can take on board means for preventing the escalation of election-related violence and conflict throughout the electoral cycle.

It aimed to identify strategic approaches that may help to anticipate and prevent violence and conflicts typically accompanying electoral processes and outline options and tools for programming design.

The workshop targetted EC and UNDP staff as well as staff of regional and international organizations working in the field of electoral assistance as well as members of EMBs.

The 30 appointed participants were selected on the basis of their involvement in electoral violence and election-related conflict prevention/management issues.

Below you can download the power point presentations used by the presenters during the training as well as other supporting documentation.