Commonwealth marks 40 years of promoting democracy through election observation

Patricia Scotland Commonwealth Secretary General
Patricia Scotland Commonwealth Secretary General

The Commonwealth Secretariat is commemorating four decades of international election observation and its contribution to democracy.

A two-day symposium will reflect on the Commonwealth’s electoral history, and the trends which have influenced elections, with the aim of helping stakeholders learn from experiences and improve and adapt for the future.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will deliver the keynote address on 15 September 2020.

Members of the press are invited to listen in and cover the symposium, which will be held on 15 and 16 September 2020.

Please register via the Symposium Channel :

Please note, you will have to register separately for each session in the channels above.

15 September 2020, 2pm BST

Topic: Reflecting on the Commonwealth’s Electoral History and Evolution: Personal Perspectives


·        Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of Malta (2004-2013)

·        HE Dr Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2010-2015)

·        HE Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica (2007-2011)

·        Zainab Bangura, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi

·        HE Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth (2008-2014)

·        Dr Rajen Prasad QSO, Commonwealth Special Envoy to Lesotho (2014-2016)

16 September 2020, 12pm BST

Topic: Key Electoral Trends Influencing the Last 40 Years


·        Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman, Electoral Commission of Ghana (1993-2015)

·        Olufunto Akinduro, Senior Programme Officer- Elections (Africa and West Asia), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Nigeria

·        Hon. Sana Ullah Baloch, Member of the Balochistan Provincial Assembly, Pakistan

·        Lomcebo Dlamini, Human Rights Lawyer, Eswatini

·        Dr Eric Kwa, Secretary of the Department of Justice and Attorney General, Papua New Guinea

·        Dr Lisa Ann Vasciannie, Lecturer, University of West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

  • The Commonwealth is made up of 54 independent countries with a combined population of 2.4 billion people working together to pursue common goals, which promote development, democracy and peace. 
  • Secretariat supports member countries to build democratic and inclusive institutions, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights as well as promoting regular elections, strengthening election bodies, institutions and processes, and enabling citizen participation and representation at national and local level.
  • The Commonwealth has observed over 160 elections in 40 countries.
  • We were one of the original signatories to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, agreed at the United Nations in 2005, which is followed by election observers globally.
  • Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.


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