The Electoral Security Advisory Group [ESAG] – Fijian Elections Office [FEO], Fiji Police Force and Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption [FICAC] – signed a Terms of Reference [TOR] at the FEO Headquarters this afternoon.
The ESAG emerged after the Electoral Risk Management Workshop, which was conducted by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance [IDEA] in April this year.
The workshop was attended by Fiji Police Force, FICAC and FEO and they collectively agreed that a working committee be formed and be responsible in planning for electoral security for the next General Election.
After the signing of this Terms of Reference, the working group will have regular meetings to discuss and evaluate the security situation specially boosted to electoral activities only and provide necessary recommendations to FEO and the Supervisor of Elections.
“ESAG TOR will provide a common platform for security agencies and FEO operations to share information on security matters at the election,” said Supervisor of Elections, Mr Mohammed Saneem.
This is a strategic endeavour between FEO and the security partners, Fiji Police Force and FICAC, in anticipating and pre-empting security risks, mitigating their impact or probability of occurrence.
The core responsibilities of the ESAG will be:
- Review and analyse the FEO Operations Plans to identify and highlight security issues that are likely to arise;
- Based on the issues highlighted in (1) above, provide feedback and recommendations to resolve the security issues;
- Utilize the FEO Operations Plans to make necessary arrangements to properly discharge their respective duties under the Electoral Decree;
- Make use of the most latest technology and methodology to ensure efficient and secure conduct of elections; and
- Establish an appropriate communication mechanism between all the organizations during the election period.
The FEO will provide the necessary facilities for the proper functioning of the ESAG. FEO will also provide equipment and secretariat services to the ESAG.
It is expected for ESAG to meet as necessary during key periods of operations. ESAG operations team may meet on a monthly basis and even at more regular intervals closer to elections. The group may also create ad-hoc working committees on specific topics to ensure proper delivery of this TOR.
ESAG aims to provide all organisations a common platform for information exchange whilst fully maintaining their utmost independence.