Democracy is considered as a ‘work in progress’ that requires continuous nurturing to realize consolidation. This description of democracy is fitting for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries as its electoral democracies are still in their infancy. Cognizant of this reality, the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF) in collaboration with the GIZ-SADC Peace & Security, decided on a virtual Regional Policy Dialogue Conference on Democracy and Elections in the SADC Region, on the 4th May 2021.
The conference brought the regional Election Management Bodies (EMBs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), members of the judiciary and other critical stakeholders together, to share knowledge, revive debate, and nurture initiatives that advance elections and democracy in the region. Founded in July 1998, the ECF-SADC is an autonomous regional institution made of EMBs inSADC member states. Since its formation, it has played a major role in enhancing the management of elections in member states as well as in building the capacity of regional EMBs, and in turn contributing to the advancement of electoral democracy in the region.
Arising from this regional policy dialogue, the ECF-SADC in collaboration with GIZ-SADC Peace & Security, decided on producing a compendium. The compendium pulls together the five policy briefs that were presented at the policy dialogue, and offered some recommendations. The compendium stands to be a critical resource on elections and democracy in the region and beyond.