Some of the important topics to be discussed are: Empowerment of Election Management Bodies; Inclusive elections (gender issues, marginalized sections, minorities etc.), Voters Education, Controlling Money Power in Elections, Technology for cost-effective elections etc.
The idea of holding such Conferences took concrete shape at the 37th Session of the Standing Committee of SAARC, held at Thimphu, in April, 2010. Bangladesh hosted the first Conference in May 2010, where initial discussions on creating a Forum of SAARC EMBs were also held.
The second Conference was held in Islamabad by the Election Commission of Pakistan. It focussed on experience sharing, and also discussed the draft charter of the proposed Forum. It adopted a resolution to establish the Forum. A number of initiatives on mutual exchanges and training activities were discussed, and bilateral arrangements were tied up between member Commissions. During the Conference, Chief Election Commissioner of India offered to host the 3rd Conference in New Delhi, which was accepted.
Election Commission of India works in close collaboration with the Election Management Bodies of South Asian Countries. In the recent weeks officials for the Election Commission of Afghanistan, Maldives and Bhutan received training at the India International Institute of Democracy and Election management IIIDEM.
Laying the Foundation Stone of the IIIDEM new Campus in Dwarka
Coinciding with the SAARC Heads of EMBs conference, Foundation Stone of new campus of India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) will be laid by Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India, on Monday, at Dwarka, New Delhi in the presence of Election Commissioners Shri V. S. Sampath and Shri H.S. Brahma and Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries. They include Mr.Fazel Ahmad Manawi, Chairman, Independent Election Commission, Afghanistan, Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, Chief Election Commissioner, Bangladesh, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, Chief Election Commissioner, Bhutan, Mr. Neel Kantha Upreti, Chief Election Commissioner, Nepal, Mr.Ibrahim Waheed, Commissioner, Election Commission, Maldives, Mr. Justice (R ) Muhammad R. Essani, Member, Election Commission Pakistan and Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, Commissioner of Elections, Sri Lanka. Shri Tejendra Khanna, Hon. Lt. Governor of Delhi will be the Chief Guest at the event.
ECI plans to develop IIIDEM as an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension of participatory democracy and election management. Presently, IIIDEM operates from the premises of the election Commission of India in New Delhi.
The funds to the tune of Rs 48 crores have been approved for 2011-12 and 2012-13 for construction of the new campus.
At present, training courses of IIIDEM are being conducted in the interim premises of this Institute at Election Commission of India. IIIDEM, since its launch in June 2011 has hosted 32 courses for more than 500 election officials and other stakeholders in all aspects of Election management. Training courses are already lined up at IIIDEM in the coming weeks for the upcoming Summary Revision and General Elections in some of the states.
Besides the national training programmes, IIIDEM has also conducted five courses for Kenyan, Maldivian, Bhutanese and Afghanistan election officials and Nigerian Election Commissioners. There are requests for such courses from Nepal and Fiji. Over the ten months of its existence, IIIDEM has become a hub for national and international training courses, seminars and workshops. Standard training modules for international participants have already been developed by a renowned team of Indian and International experts.