FORUM OF ELECTION MANAGEMENT BODIES OF SOUTH ASIA (FEMBoSA)

At the meeting of representatives of election management bodies of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the year 2010, it was decided at the conclusion that an organization representing those countries should be established. Consequently, the Annual General Meetings of the Organization were held in the member countries and the charter for the organization also was adopted with the aim of fulfilling the objectives of the organization (Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia- FEMBoSA).

Since the creation of FEMBoSA, Annual Meetings were held in Pakistan (2011), in India (2012), in Bhutan (2013), Nepal (2014) and finally in Sri Lanka (2015). At the last meeting held in Sri Lanka, in Maldives (2016) and it was decided in last meeting to hold the Eighth Annual Meeting of FEMBoSA in Afghanistan.

The Agenda of the Annual Meetings are aimed to hold discussions on important current topics relevant to Election Management and Electoral Process, giving special attention to the region and decisions were taken on the incoming Chairperson of FEMBoSA and the hosting country for the next meeting. At every meeting, a separate session was held to evaluate the previous year’s activities of the organization as well as for planning the next year’s activities.

Apart from holding the Annual Meetings the high level officials of the Election Management Bodies of the region are given opportunities to enhance their experiences and skills through training programs and Election Observation Missions during the Election periods.

OBJECTIVES OF FEMBoSA
  • Promote contact among the Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries;
  • Share experiences with a view to learning from each other; and
  • Cooperate with one another in enhancing the capabilities of the Election Management Bodies towards conducting free and fair elections.
MEMBER EMBs
Members of FEMBoSA
The members of the FEMBoSA are the Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries, namely:
  1. Afghanistan;
  2. Bangladesh;
  3. Bhutan;
  4. India;
  5. Maldives;
  6. Nepal;
  7. Pakistan; and
  8. Sri Lanka.
CHARTER HIGHLIGHTS
  • The council of the Forum of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries shall be the operational arm (Article-2)
  • The council shall be the supreme authority of the Forum that comprises the Heads of the Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries, or such other Election Commissioner/ Member/ authorized representative by the Head of the concerned Election Management Body (Article-3)
  • The council shall meet at least once a year in one of the Member countries on the basis of alphabetical rotation (Article-3)
  • The head of the Election Management Body of the Host Country shall be the Chair of the Council from commencement of one meeting to the commencement of the next, and will also discharge secretarial functions during this period (Article-3)
  • The functions of the Council (Article-3)
    • Approve the programs of the Forum;
    • Decide the subjects for discussion in any Conference/Meeting of the Forum;
    • Consider and decide all the matters concerning the Forum and Conduct of the Council;
    • Frame Rules for the conduct of the business of Forum; and
    • Fix the date and venue for the Conferences/Meetings of the Forum.
  • Hosting Election Management Body shall bear expenses on local hospitality, logistic support and internal travel for any meeting while expenditure on international travel shall be borne by the respective visiting delegations (Article-4)
  • Decisions at all levels of the forum shall be taken on the basis of unanimity (Article-5)
  • The Forum may establish and maintain relations with other regional and international Electoral Organizations (Article-6)
  • The members of the Forum will implement recommendations and decisions adopted by the Forum from time to time (Article-6)
  • A member of the Forum may leave the Forum after due written notification of its decision and the Forum may be dissolved by a resolution of the council (Article-7)
PREVIOUS MEETINGS AT A GLANCE

1st Meeting held among the Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Member countries in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010 in this meeting, the idea of Forum conceived.

2nd Meeting held in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2011 in which electoral experiences Shared with each other and more importantly the Forum was Formalized.

3rd Meeting held in New Delhi in April 2012 with unanimous decision to rename the Forum as ‘Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia’ (FEMBoSA) with consequential amendments to the resolution and charter of the Forum. In addition, a new charter of the Forum drawn up and signed and the logo for the Forum was developed and agreed upon.

4th Meeting took place in Thimphu, Bhutan in October 2013 on the theme: “Sharing Experiences and Resources for better Electoral practices in South Asia”. In this meeting the Rules of the Procedure and the Logo of the Forum were adopted. It was also decided to have the next meeting in Nepal in coming year.

5th Meeting Held in Kathmandu, Nepal in November 2014. In this meeting the term “Free and Fair Election: Pride of Nation” as the Motto of the FEMBoSA as well as the strategic issues of managing elections were adopted. Moreover, the proposal for the establishment of a Centre called “South Asia Institute for Democracy and Electoral Studies (SAIDES)” was accepted.

6th Meeting held in Sri Lanka in October 2015 on the theme: “Autonomy and Independence of EMBs”. In this meeting experiences in Election Administration were shared, the role of EMBs, challenges, issues and responsibilities of the institutions was identified. In addition, the Autonomy and Independence of EMBs was developed and it was resolved to have the 7th Meeting in Maldives in 2016.

Seventh Meeting hosted by the Elections Commission of Maldives in August 2016 at Bandos Island Resort, Maldives on the theme: “Use of Technology in Elections”. In this meeting the Work Plan for FEMBoSA was approved and decision was made for its implementation.

Sharing mechanism on Election Dispute Resolutions (EDR) as well as knowledge in ICT tools and modules being used by member EMBs were agreed. And it was decided to develop standards for use of ICT in election among the member EMBs.

Maldives meeting resolved to hold next meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan on the themes (Electoral Conflict Resolutions & No Voter to be Left Behind). 8th Meeting to be hosted by Afghan Independent Election Commission in Kabul, Afghanistan in 24-26 September 2017 on the themes:

  • Electoral Conflict Resolutions; and
  • No Voter to be Left Behind

FEMBoSA 2019