The Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum (AESF) is a continuing engagement between election management bodies (EMBs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Asia. There have already been three successful gatherings since it was first launched in 2012: AESF-1 in Bangkok, Thailand (2012), AESF-2 in Dili, Timor-Leste (2015), and AESF-3 in Bali, Indonesia (2016).
The Asian Network for Free Elections, with members across Asia, championed the creation of a mechanism to address common electoral issues while also advancing the rule of law and honoring the cultures, traditional laws and customs of the many peoples who live in Asia. The result is the holding of the first-ever regional gathering of Asian Electoral Stakeholders with the Bangkok Declaration on Free and Fair Elections as its product. The declaration identified the most significant and widespread barriers to free and fair elections in Asia and strengthened the resolve of the Asian people to address them by involving all relevant stakeholders. It was considered a major milestone to Asian electoral democracy. Since then, CSOs have undertaken initiatives to promote the Bangkok Declaration by endorsing and cooperating with EMBs on programs that aim to address and tear down such barriers.
AESF has also drawn the attention of EMBs with the 2nd AESF held in Dili, Timor-Leste with support of the National Commission of Elections (CNE) in March 2015. Asian stakeholders once again gathered together with representatives from other regions that enriched the sharing and discussion. AESF-2 has led to the endorsement of the “Dili Indicators on Democratic Elections” intended to be used as a guide to assess election credibility.
With the Forum becoming one of the most celebrated gatherings of Asian EMBs and CSOs, the 3rd AESF was held a year after the Dili AESF. This time around, Indonesia’s General Election Commission (KPU) supported and co-organized the Forum. The event concluded with the participants endorsing the “Bali Commitment: Electoral Integrity: Eight Keys to Transparency.”
The 4th AESF, co-hosted by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the Asian Network for Free Elections will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 27 to 28 August 2018. It will once again provide the space and opportunity for electoral management bodies, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to meet and gather to recognize present challenges and commit on ways on how to address them. It will mark a historic milestone for South Asia, being the first AESF to be held in the sub-region.
Representatives from intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations (UN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) are invited in this important event.
The 4th AESF will adopt the theme: “Advancing the Election Transparency and Integrity Agenda: Overcoming Asian Democracy Challenges through Cooperation.” Also, the two-day gathering is designed to center on developing strategies to actually enhance transparency and integrity for credible elections in the region.
To know more about AESF IV or to register, please visit the following link: AESF IV Information