organised by the Fijian Electoral Education Centre (FEEC), the education and capacity building arm of the Fijian Elections Office (The BRIDGE Electoral Security module workshop was FEO) from the 8th to 11th March, 2016.
The workshop was opened by Senior Peace and Development Advisor, Ms Sonja Bachmann on behalf of Ms Osnat Lubrani, the United Nations Resident Coordinator. In her keynote address, Ms Bachmann said the workshop was very timely, as discussions would focus on a broad definition of electoral security, including the impact of natural disasters, a safe environment allowing for the effective participation of women and the issue of data security.
There were 19 participants (10 males, 9 females) altogether where 14 were FEO staff, 4 from the Fiji Police Force and Chief Investigator from the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).
In this workshop, participants were able to understand the importance of security in all electoral processes. The workshop focused on objectives of electoral security, security principles and strategies, threats and risk management, importance of stakeholders and security training needs. On the fourth day participants also developed a National Electoral Security Plan for Fiji’s future elections.
The workshop was appropriate given that the next scheduled General election in Fiji will be in 2018. Many participants unfold security cases and stories of the last General election which became lessons learnt. The level of interest in discussions, debates, and group work presentations was remarkable throughout the four days and this proved to be the main medium in understanding the “Learning Outcomes” and “Key Understandings” of the electoral security module.
The workshop was closed by the Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Mohammed Saneem who in his speech applauds how the workshop was carried out. The workshop had achieved its mission where pros and cons of the 2014 General election were discussed and also the first time for FEO and Fiji Police Force came together and discussed security issues in elections.
At the conclusion of the workshop, it was also agreed that a working committee will be formed to be responsible in planning for electoral security for the next General election.