Milan 2008

Effective electoral assistance

In Milan the course was hosted and promoted by the Institute for International Politics Studies, ISPI.

The “advanced course on effective electoral assistance” was attended by 25 participants and it was opened to candidates with university degree in political science, law, social sciences and deep understanding of development cooperation and democratization issues.

The knowledge and/or experience in project cycle management, and/or election administration and/or comparative experience in dealing with electoral legislation and electoral systems was considered an asset.

The participants were mainly individuals with several experiences in the election support sector that wanted to deepen their knowledge on the issues of effective electoral assistance, representatives of electoral management bodies of EU member states, academics, students, representative of the private sector dealing with the provision of election services and representatives of international organizations dealing with election support.

ISPI was founded in 1934 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious Italian institutes specialising in international affairs. It is a legally recognised association, transformed into a non-profit making corporation in 1972, operating under the supervision of the Foreign Ministry and administratively under the control of the Treasury and State Auditors’ Office.

The vocation of the Institute is to promote the study of international politics and economics, particularly international affairs and strategic problems; train people intending to work in international surroundings, as well as supply a forum for discussion and debate at a high level.

The characteristic of ISPI’s work is an interdisciplinary approach, guaranteed by its close collaboration with specialists (not always academic) in economic, legal, historic and strategic studies and its partnership with other institutions and research centres all over the world (including the DGAP in Berlin, IFRI in Paris, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, CARI in Buenos Aires, the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, etc.).

The course was given within the ISPI’s “Winter School” which is delivering advances courses on four thematic areas: development cooperation, humanitarian emergency, European affairs and international politics.

The course was delivered by members of the EC-UNDP Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance (Fabio Bargiacchi, Aleyda Ferreira, Francesco Torcoli, Jesper Pedersen), Senior staff of IDEA (Domenico Tuccinardi and Sara Staino) and two electoral consultants (Dunia Ramazani and Jerome Leyraud) that regularly collaborate with the Joint Task Force.The course followed the already developed five-days structure and training material produced for the previous sessions of the EC-UNDP-IDEA Joint Training. The course was delivered based on the principle of knowledge sharing paying attention to illustrate the comparative experiences that EC, UNDP and IDEA gathered in the last three.

The final agenda covered all the aspects on how to provide an Effective Electoral Assistance focusing on the issues presented in the last “ACE Focus on…: Making Electoral Assistance Effective: From Formal Commitment to Actual Implementation”.

The overall objective of the course was s to explore the best ways to make electoral assistance more effective, identifying guiding principles for effective electoral assistance and methodologies for the adoption of good practice in the design and implementation of electoral support programmes.

Case studies on electoral systems, voter registration technologies, procurement of electoral material, need asseement/formulation missions and cost of elections were presented to the participants for their work in separate group and for simulation exercises.

A certificate was delivered to each participant.

A special thanks goes to Elena Avenati and Francesca Robbiati from ISPI that have facilitated the organization of the course and contributed to its success.