Discussion Board

SDG16 on Inclusive Electoral Processes

The Sustainable Development Goals 16 was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September 2015 and it was to replace the Millennium Development Goals.  The aim is to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.  Every couple of years the Secretary-General reports to the General Assembly on the UN’s work showing support of democratic elections, the report usually addresses violence surrounding electoral process and suggest strategies that the Member States can adopt for the prevention of such violence.

Some examples of this include weakening the political elections where the winner “takes all,” promoting dialogue between those competing for political power and the national electoral authorities acting as the supporters of peaceful and legitimate elections.  In Nigeria and Burkina Faso in 2015 the DPA and UNDP came together to work with national counterparts and electoral participants to diffuse political tensions in the pre-electoral environment.  In the article, the writer specifically quotes about Burkina Faso where, “timely engagement of institutions at the international, regional, sub-regional level was instrumental in encouraging progress and providing diplomatic, technical and financial support required to restore stability and prepare for the 2015 legislative and presidential elections”

The report by the SG this year addresses issues like challenges with election boycotts and the elimination of presidential term limits.  There is no international standard about term limits in national legislation, which is still a problem of national authority.  The topic of starting technological developments that can enhance the inclusiveness of political processes was addressed stating that, “an electoral process that expanding voting rights to citizens based abroad could possibly bring additional credibility.”  It will be very interesting to see what ends up unfolding regarding the report, but from what was said about it is that the UNDP has been assisting in ensuring the integrity and freedom of inclusive and peaceful electoral processes globally.  Will inclusive electoral processes create a pathway to more peaceful societies?


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