Annex to IFES, Republic of Kazakhstan, Final Project Report Oct 1, 1997-Sept 30, 2002: Central Asia Regional Election Officials Conference, November 17-20, 1998
In keeping with its efforts to promote election systemic reform at all levels, the International Foundation for Election Systems, in cooperation with OSCE, UN/UNDP, and the SOROS Foundation offices in Central Asia, sponsored a three-day conference titled "Election Administration: Regional Experience and Comparative Perspectives" in Almaty, Kazakhstan from November 17-20, 1998. The conference was conducted for Oblast-level election officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Representatives of the parliament and Central Electoral Commission of each republic were invited as well.
The event was designed as a training as well as a networking opportunity for the officials, who had not previously had the chance to meet and discuss common issues and goals. The training focused on improvement of election administration, voter education, and overall communications with the goal of preparing the officials for the next nationwide elections, per country, in the coming eighteen months. IFES was prepared to follow up the event with ongoing technical assistance in each of the countries except Turkmenistan. IFES had already been engaged in providing technical assistance to the Central Election Commissions of the Central Asian Republics, but determined, with the support of the central authorities, that more needed to be done in the way of training the next level of election officials, at the Oblast level. The strategy reflected IFES' approach to work at all levels to bring about positive change in the conduct of elections, including the aforementioned work with the Central Election Commission as well as working with polling station officials, individual candidates, and NGO representatives monitoring the elections. It was felt that working with Oblast-Ieve1 officials would assist in their professionalization, help improve the level' of accountability in the election process, and allow IFES and other international observers and assistance providers to better monitor elections on a local level by using the newly-created relationships with Oblast Election Commission chairpersons.
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