September 25 marked two years since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were signed. The SDGs or Global Goals represent a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure worldwide peace and prosperity.
Elections are an integral part of this global push towards a better tomorrow. Sustainable Development Goal 16: “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” offers specific guidelines to tackle imperative challenges such as building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions; guaranteeing election integrity and trust; and ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
Electoral Management Bodies together with other election stakeholders must work together to shape the future of elections and strengthen democracy. They can have a great impact around the world by:
- Developing inclusive political processes to improve citizen participation, voice and accountability through electoral processes, civic engagement, and women’s political participation; with a special focus on groups experiencing significant marginalization, including persons with disabilities, LGBTI, and indigenous peoples.
- Building responsive and accountable institutions to deliver equitable public services and inclusive development at the central and local levels;
- Reducing inequality between women and men in positions of power and decision-making, in public and private institutions.
- Giving individuals a legal right to access information, as part of a more transparent and open government that protects open data, whistleblowers, and asset declarations.
- Guaranteeing capacity development and electoral education in fields such as electoral policy renovation, out-of-country voting, election technology and electoral assistance.
There are plenty of challenges, yet the road ahead is clear. Election Management Bodies have in the SDG a roadmap to contribute creating more just societies.