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May 18, 11

NEWS / UN-backed conference on improving elections in West Africa opens

18 May 2011 Ė
In a year when many West African countries are preparing to stage critical elections, more than 100 delegates from across the region gathered today for the start of a three-day United Nations-backed conference aimed at helping to ensure that the polls consolidate peace and deter conflict.

The meeting in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, will serve as an opportunity to evaluate the implementation of the Protocol on Democracy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and examine progress towards good governance a decade after the Protocolís adoption. Delegates will also analyze recent elections in the region.

The conference will consider critical issues such as the financing of elections, the functioning of the electoral commissions, the management of electoral disputes, the role of the media, and of the security sector, human rights and gender issues, as well as support by the UN and of the international community to electoral processes.

The conference was held under the auspices of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), in partnership with Cape Verde, the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Participants include senior officials and representatives of governments, electoral commissions, constitutional councils, security forces, media organizations, civil society and regional organizations.




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