As international election observation plays an increasingly important role in helping nations consolidate peace and strengthen democracy, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other key players in the field are poised to adopt a new set of standards – including a ban on receiving funding from host governments – for carrying out this vital work.
The Declaration of Principles and an accompanying Code of Conduct will bring participating observer groups for the first time under a common set of standards for professional and effective observation, UN officials said.
The Secretary-General will be joined at an endorsement ceremony on Thursday by representatives of more than 20 organizations active in observing elections around the world, including former United States President Jimmy Carter of The Carter Center, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and the Secretaries-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Inter-Parliamentary Union and Pacific Islands Forum.
The new standards commit endorsing organizations to act impartially, monitor all stages of the election process, and accept no funding from host governments. They also establish prerequisites that must be met for international observation, including freedom of movement, freedom to make public statements and free access to information.