Introduction to Domestic Observation Activities
After the successful series of meeting and forums conducted by the previous NEEDS project, the new version of the NEEDS project takes a step further. The project includes a specific component envisaged to provide targeted support to domestic observer groups and other relevant civil society organisations through regional partners; in this context, it aims to develop and promote strategies for the promotion and inclusion of election observers’ recommendations in the democratic dialogue and in the reform debate of the post-electoral period.
The NEEDS project will provide limited but high-level technical assistance to Civil Society Organisations engaged in domestic observation and in monitoring and assessing follow-up on o recommendations prepared by observers. The project will establish links between the NEEDS domestic observation website page and active EU EOMs, highlighting their recommendations and providing guidelines on how to make the most of them.
The project will establish a worldwide network with regional partners involved in election observation. The identification of partners will be based on their track record in election observation and their proven capacity in training domestic observer groups. While regional networks already exist, benefiting greatly from information exchange and best practice in their own regions – the NEEDS project will promote a global initiative to bring regional actors together into one global network. This will broaden the level of experience of the regional networks, facilitate regional exchanges and assist them to become more effective in their local observation. This network could be launched with a conference for the Global Network of Election Observers and discussion forums, available on a dedicated section of this website.
With the support of two regional partners with a proven track record in electoral observation and assistance, the Center for Electoral Promotion and Evaluation of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (CAPEL) and EISA (formerly known as the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa), the project will identify and train up to 24 domestic observer organisations over the course of three years. The training will target management cadres of the identified organizations. The content will focus on international obligations and commitments for domestic elections and different techniques for observing elections, in order to improve the quality of observation around the world. The crucial aspect is the intention to support domestic groups in the operationalisation of the principles and values , enshrined in the Declaration of Principles on International Electoral Observation, by facilitating a cross fertilization from different regional experiences as well as seeing the benefits of promoting observers recommendations as a model for triggering democratic reforms and promote political dialogue throughout the electoral cycle and in the post electoral period in particular.
Two seminars will be organised in Brussels with the participation of regional partners and selected international organisations on lessons learned in international observation, capacity building, observation coordination improvement and best practices. One of the most important aspects of capacity building will be improving the monitoring and analytical skills of domestic observation and other civil society organisations, to ensure that they improve their ability to adequately evaluate the progress of reform implementation.