The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) concluded a four-day general lessons learned workshop.
Throughout the workshop, which was held in Sulaymaniyah from 27-30 March, IHEC Board of Commissioners (BoC) and senior leadership together with senior officials from the UNAMI Office of Electoral Assistance (OEA) brainstormed on the challenges and lessons learned from the 2021 Council of Representatives (CoR) elections and agreed upon recommendations to turn weaknesses into strengths to further improve Iraq's electoral processes.
Judge Jalil Adnan Khalaf, IHEC Chairman, noted that:
"After the successful implementation of 2021 Council of Representatives elections, IHEC has made itself ready to systematically assess its performance and identify areas for improvement throughout the institution. The outcomes of this workshop will set the ground for developing a comprehensive capacity building plan with the support of UNAMI. I extend my gratitude to UNAMI for its continued support".
The workshop covered key thematic areas including legal, operational planning, public outreach and media, voter registration, training and procedures, procurement and logistics, field coordination, security coordination and election information and results managements.
The exercise also provided an opportunity for a participatory, inclusive, and bottom-up institutional approach to post-election reflections and evaluations, contributing to the development of an institutional culture where dialogue and contributions are incentivized and promoted.
UNAMI OEA Senior Election Operations Adviser, Jawed Habibi, said that:
"The 2021 Council of Representatives election was an achievement for Iraq that was successfully conducted under leadership of IHEC with the technical assistance of UNAMI mandated by the UN Security Council. Despite this success, this enormous and complex process requires continuous improvement.
"I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm UNAMI's full commitment in supporting IHEC in the execution of the recommendations of the lessons learned workshop starting with a comprehensive capacity building needs assessment to move forward in enhancing the institution's technical preparedness under the lines of UNAMI's mandate".
In closing remarks at the conclusion of the lessons learned workshop, UNAMI OEA Senior Legal Adviser, Hugo Kacic, said that:
"IHEC and OEA colleagues gathered to exchange, to listen, discuss and to learn from each other. We documented and highlighted those aspects that worked well. At the same time, we honestly looked at areas and activities where IHEC could have performed better.
"The challenge remains. And this challenge is to how to apply the lessons learned that we have identified here to improve in the future. I would like to use this opportunity to re-confirm that under the leadership of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, UNAMI will continue to support IHEC as it is stipulated in its mandate."
(Sources: UNAMI, IHEC)