Senior-Level Exchange on Elections to Peace

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Executive Education, Governance | 0 comments

The second edition of the “Senior Level Exchange on Elections to Peace (E2P)” was organised by Switzerland to provide experienced practitioners and officials a platform to analyse and exchange strategies to prevent political violence and support peaceful elections.

Designed as a three-day retreat from 16 to 18 November 2022, E2P provided a peer-to-peer exchange platform, critical feedback from established experts and views from high-level representatives and academics. By combining conflict prevention, mediation and technical support, delegations from Georgia, Kosovo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe reflected on their experiences and exchanged ideas on implementing more effective initiatives. The event’s main goal was to identify and highlight strategies and tools to increase trust in electoral processes.

Building on the good results of its first edition in 2018, E2P was co-organised by the Graduate Institute, the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Peace and Human Rights Division from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Trust is constitutive of the legitimacy of democratic processes. It results from the good governance of public institutions and citizens’ perception of transparency and resilience in decision-making processes. In the face of cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, and the polarisation of society, electoral processes present both the opportunity to deliberate and bridge societal gaps and the danger of dividing citizens even further. In this context, peer-to-peer learning is vital. – Jérôme Duberry, Academic Advisor for the Executive Programme in International Negotiation and Policy-making and Senior Research Fellow at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy and Center for Environmental International Studies.

Building on the success of the first Elections to Peace High-Level Conference held in 2018, I am happy Switzerland can be the venue to discuss how to promote peaceful electoral processes and changes of power a second time. This retreat provides a rare opportunity for practitioners from different countries, experts and academics to exchange on building trust in democracies. – Ambassador Simon Geissbühler, Head of the Peace and Human Rights Division, FDFA.

While much has happened since the first Election to Peace conference, with a war in Europe, a pandemic and the acceleration of climate change, what has not changed is the need for trust in electoral processes to ensure credible results, which in turn lead to their peaceful acceptance. Without trust in democratic processes, the winners do not enjoy the legitimacy they need to govern effectively. I was very pleased, therefore, that the issue of trust was one of the main issues discussed at this second conference. – Corinne Momal-Vanian, Executive Director, Kofi Annan Foundation.

The Peace, Elections and Democracy thematic approach of the Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) aims to prevent and mitigate violence and conflict by strengthening democratic processes for peaceful and legitimate power-sharing. The approach is unique as it combines peace policy tools with technical expertise to promote human security. The PHRD’s work is supported by and complements the efforts of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), whose projects are long-term.

Founded in 2007 by Kofi Annan, the Kofi Annan Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to help build peaceful, democratic and resilient societies. The Foundation works closely with partners from international and regional organisations, foundations, universities and civil society. We channel expertise, convene all stakeholders around the table and forge coalitions of trusted influence which can make change happen.

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