Barcelona 2011

Elections, violence and conflict prevention

At least 1,500 killed, one million fled since disputed election in Ivory Coast and 1,300 people died in Kenya after 2007 elections. What are the causes of electoral-related violence? Are there common ‘triggers’ to electoral violence beyond the individual circumstances of each country experiencing it?

Those were the themes of the 2nd edition of the workshop on Elections, Violence and Conflict Prevention that gathered top international experts in the field of electoral assistance from more than 30 countries from the UN, the EU and partner country Electoral Management Bodies.

Although a key indicator of democratic governance, elections alone are not sufficient to fully embed a democratic governance structure in any country. Recent experiences in countries such as Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Kenya have shown that the non-acceptance of the electoral results can be both the direct cause of electoral-related violence, or the spark that brings forth violence that is caused by more underlying factors. Can international partners and national authorities play an effective role in designing pre-emptive solutions?

The need to understand the links between elections, violence and conflict prevention necessarily mandates electoral practitioners to look beyond the mere technicalities of electoral administration. Participants in the workshop will thus address the latest developments in the area and analyse what can be done to better understand, and ultimately prevent, electoral violence.

The workshop on Election, Violence and Conflict Prevention is jointly organised by the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the Ajuntament de Barcelona and will be hosted at the Montjuïc Castle, base of the Barcelona International Peace and Resource Centre (BICPR).