Bengaluru: The Election Commission of India is scheduled to host the 4th General Assembly of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) at Bengaluru on 3rd September 2019. India will take over as A-WEB’s Chair for the 2019-21 term. Over 50 countries across the globe will join the meeting at Bengaluru from 02nd to 04th September, 2019. An International Conference on “Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections” will also be held on 04th September, 2019.
The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide. A-WEB was established on October 14, 2013 in Song-do, South Korea. The permanent secretariat of A-WEB is located at Seoul. A-WEB’s vision is to foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative elections worldwide. Its activities are guided by its mission to identify latest trends, challenges and developments in democratic electoral management and electoral processes and to facilitate appropriate exchange of experience and expertise among members with the objective of strengthening electoral democracy worldwide.
Election Commission of India has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011-12. ECI has been its Executive Board Member since AWEB’s inception in October 2013 for two consecutive terms (2013-15 and 2015-17). At the last A-WEB General Assembly held in Bucharest on 31st August, 2017, Romania took over as Chair and ECI was unanimously elected as Vice-Chair of A-WEB 2017-19. India is all set to take over as Chair now for the 2019-21 term.
At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 20 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members. 24 EMBs from Asia, 37 from Africa, 31 from America, 17 from Europe & 6 from Oceania presently are members of A WEB. ECI will continue to remain on the Executive Board of A-WEB for 2021-23 in its capacity as immediate former Chair of A-WEB.
The current Executive Board of AWEB 2017-19 has 21 members wherein Dominican Republic as the Immediate Past Chair; 5 members from Africa namely Burkina Faso/Guinea/Kenya/Malawi/Tunisia; 4 members from Americas -Argentina/Colombia/El Salvador/Paraguay; 4 members from Asia – Bangladesh/Palestine/Taiwan/Uzbekistan; 3 members from Europe – Albania/Belarus/Croatia and Fiji as the member from Oceania are included.
Over 120 Participants from more than 50 countries across the globe will join the AWEB events scheduled in Bengaluru from 02nd to 04th September, 2019. By far this is the largest congregation of EMB delegates in India. Meeting of the Executive Board of A-WEB will be held on 02 Sep. 2019; Next day on Tuesday, the 3rd September, General Assembly of A-WEB will be held where India will take over as Chair of A-WEB for 2019-2021 term. Chief Election Commissioner of India Sh Sunil Arora would preside over the General Assembly meeting. Detailed deliberations at the A-WEB General Assembly include discussion on Challenges and future of furthering partnership amongst EMBs; appointment of office bearers; programmes and activities to be undertaken by A-WEB during 2020, etc.
On the 4th of September, an International Conference on “Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections” will be held. Eleven countries namely Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia – Herzegovina, Cameroon, Malawi, Mauritius, Palestine, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone and Togo would make their presentations on the subject.
A-WEB was founded with the shared vision among its members of achieving sustainable democracy around the world. A-WEB aims at strengthening the processes of election management in member countries. Since, its inception A-WEB has undertaken election ICT Programmes in various countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Fiji, Papua Guinea and Samoa. A-WEB also undertakes Election Visitor and Observation Programmes in various countries to study various election management practices and share knowledge with other Member of EMBs. The association has organized such EVPs to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ecuador. The A-WEB Secretariat also undertakes Election Management Capacity Building Programme for the officials from Member EMBs. Since 2014, it has conducted more than 89 programmes for over 645 participants from over 70 countries.