The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) hosted the meeting of the 11th Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) on 11th August 2021 in the Great Fourth Auditorium of the ECB in Thimphu.
The annual FEMBoSA meeting is being hosted, turn-wise, among the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of South Asia. Besides the ECB, there are 7 other EMBs, namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The 10th FEMBoSA was held in New Delhi, India on 24th January, 2020, and was chaired by the Election Commission of India.
In the wake of the global COVID-19 Pandemic and the growing risk posed by the virus, the 11th FEMBoSA meeting was hosted by the ECB through a virtual platform.
At the Inaugural Session of the meeting, the Chairmanship of the FEMBoSA was handed over to the Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan by the out-going Chairman, the Chief Election Commissioner of India. The Ambassador of Bhutan to India received the FEMBoSA Logo, on behalf the ECB, from the out-going Chairman.
The theme for the 11th FEMBoSA was ‘Use of Technology in Elections.’ Amongst the list of topics, the ECB made a presentation on the use of Technology for Enhancing Transparent, Accessible and Inclusive Voting.
Some of the pertinent decisions taken during the meeting are as highlighted below:
1. The theme for the 12th FEMBoSA is “Managing Elections in COVID-19: Sharing valuable lessons and experiences.”
2. Enhance mutual cooperation and support among the FEMBoSA members of South Asia in the field of electoral practices.
3. Agreed to have interactive sessions on a digital platform among the FEMBoSA Members on a half-yearly basis.
4. The tenure of the current Chairman will be for 2 years in the light of the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
5. Focus on the use of ICT in elections and interactions amongst the EMBs of South Asia.
The objectives of the FEMBoSA are to promote contact among the EMBs of the SAARC countries, share experiences and best practices with a view to learning from each other and to cooperate with one another in enhancing the capabilities of the EMBs towards conducting free, fair and democratic elections.
The 11th FEMBoSA was organized in alignment with these objectives and conducted in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.
The Election Commission of Bhutan