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Core Concepts - Considering Entry Points

Every electoral assistance effort takes place in a unique context. Therefore, in considering entry points for assistance, there is no single electoral actor or entry point that the UN endorses per se. Factors at work include the character of and relationship between existing institutions, the legal framework, existing professional capacities and the level of political stability. These will largely determine how electoral assistance is conceived and implemented, keeping in mind that electoral planning and assistance may shift at every stage of the electoral cycle. One general parameter: start planning early, as there can be delays along the way, from lags in the DPA/EAD approval process to late funding.

The first section of this Toolkit emphasized that it is important to consider the entire electoral cycle and the links across the three different phases of it—before, during and after. This holds true even for programmes that intend to address only one aspect or phase of an election. It helps ensure that programmes achieve maximum effectiveness by taking on board all the factors that may be in play, and have the potential to leverage broader, longer-term results. As a refresher, see again the Electoral Cycle Breakdown.

Typical points for intervention

Some common entry points for UNDP assistance comprise:

  • Electoral reform and legal framework
  • Electoral administration
  • Building sustainable electoral processes
  • Civic and voter education
  • Training
  • Voter registration
  • Mobilization and coordination of resources for electoral support
  • Helping ensure security during the electoral process
  • Strengthening political parties
  • Reduction of election-related violence and electoral dispute resolution
  • Media and elections
  • Support to international and domestic observers (see Electoral Observation for more information)
  • Inclusive participation/Empowerment of women in campaign and elections
  • Inclusive youth participation

See also a more detailed list.

Useful resources

In preparing to embark on an electoral assistance programme, several global knowledge tools may be useful for initial reference. Some come from UNDP, including the UNDP Electoral Assistance Implementation Guide and the UNDP Electoral Systems and Processes Practice Note. See the tools of this section for more options.

One comprehensive source of new ideas on the design and implementation of electoral processes is the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. ACE provides authoritative information on elections, promotes networking among practitioners, and offers training, online advisory services and partnerships to increase the capacity of electoral stakeholders to administer free and fair elections. A component of the project—the ACE Practitioners’ Network—makes it possible to obtain on-demand advice from a large number of electoral experts on specific challenges faced during the project design stage. This can help avoid mistakes that have plagued previous electoral assistance projects.

Considering gender perspective in electoral assistance is gaining wider attention these days as UNDP considers gender equality and empowerment of women important cross-cutting issues. There are several entry points for empowerment of women in campaign and elections:

  • Training of women candidates/advocates
  • Training of the media
  • Networking
  • Direct support (goods and services)
  • Campaign financing
  • Incentives on nominations of women
  • Electoral system reform
  • Political party reform

See more on Electoral Financing to Advance Women’s Political Participation: A Guide for UNDP Support.

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