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IFES and OAS Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Strengthen Electoral Observation Systems



The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the Organization of American States (OAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on September 8 in order to further cooperation on electoral observation systems.

During a signing ceremony at the OAS in Washington, D.C., IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney discussed the already strong relationship between the organizations, noting that the MoU “seals a partnership with the OAS so as to continue to define and develop best practices and evaluation standards in the Hemisphere.” “This partnership will become a model for other partnerships around the world,” Sweeney added.

Ultimately, Sweeney said, “IFES is pleased to partner with the Organization of American States to consider how we can jointly improve the methodologies used to evaluate credible elections. Strong, evidence-based indicators are much needed to assess election quality, as well as to track the impact of reforms and changes to the process over successive election cycles.”

OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza discussed collaboration between his organization and IFES and noted both organizations shared a goal of protecting and promoting democracy. Insulza explained how the OAS’s founding Charter explicitly calls for electoral observation. “This is a task that the OAS will continue to carry out, and to do so with IFES is probably ensuring the best capabilities and the highest quality of electoral observation," he said.

For more than 25 years, IFES has been active in promoting the right of citizens in OAS member states – and around the world – to have a say in how they are governed. When founded in 1987, Haiti was one of the first countries where IFES developed programming. Today, IFES provides technical and professional assistance across Latin America and the Caribbean in all areas of the electoral cycle.