Acknowledging the need for inclusive and capacitated institutions that can identify and respond to early signs of violence in a coordinated manner with the objective of preventing and mitigating conflict, the Brussels based Task Force on Electoral Assistance (JTF) developed the IT-based Early Warning and Early Response (iReport) System.
The system has primarily been designed to strengthen the capacity of national counterparts through UNDP Electoral Assistance Projects or broader Governance Projects; with the role of the JTF/UNDP projects limited to design of architecture and protocols, ICT development and training. Furthermore, a key objective of the Early Warning system is to enhance coordination and open channels of communication between state institutions and civil and political actors to raise mutual trust and a shared analysis of the societal and political tensions. The proposed solution builds on digital innovation as it introduces an IT platform that has been specifically designed to enhance data collection, sharing and analysis and which forms the basis for well-informed and coordinated prevention and response planning.
The IReport system was selected and presented at the Paris Peace Forum in 2020 and has since been effectively rolled out in a number of countries including Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia.
Building on existing monitoring initiatives and early warning structures, the IReport aims to enhance country-wide capacities for monitoring, analysis and response to incidents of electoral and political violence through the design and implementation of an Early Warning and Early Response System.
The main objectives of the IReport will be to build national capacity to:
The specialised IT platform developed by the Brussels-based Task Force on Electoral Assistance can facilitate the task of collecting, collating, and mapping incidents of violence. It allows for subsequent analysis to facilitate informed and timely response. The system will draw from field reporting (via SMS, phone, website input) as well as complementary data sources and will involve a process of data processing including categorization, translation, geo-localisation, prioritisation of urgency and verification of incidents. The analysis of this data on incidents of violence and abuse will inform response by stakeholders with a focus on preventive actions. Moreover, the introduction of these active monitoring systems not only informs response and prevention actions but also can deter perpetrators from committing violence by escalating the risk of detection
A methodology has been developed that allows for the customization of the globally implementable solution to the context specific reality and needs of each country, taking into consideration the existing early warning structures and capacity needs, while seeking broad engagement of all relevant national and international stakeholders. The following principles are guiding the deployment of the iReport:
As highlighted above, national ownership of the mechanism is a key characteristic, as the initiative seeks to capacitate national actors and build national expertise for long-term impact. As such, JTF expertise is centred around:
Assessment, Programming and planning:
Institutional Capacity building :
Digital package solutions:
Communication and Monitoring & Evaluation:
Ethiopia 2020: completed, evaluation ongoing, continuation of support in the long-term.
Ivory Coast 2021: completed, evaluation ongoing, continuation of support in the long-term.
Burkina Faso 2021: completed, evaluation ongoing, continuation of support in the long-term.
Zambia 2021: completed, evaluation ongoing, continuation of support in the long-term.
Honduras 2021: deployment ongoing. Elections: end of November.
Liberia 2023: Assessment completed, planning of deployment/operationalization. Elections 2023.
Zimbabwe 2022: Assessment completed, planning of deployment/operationalization. Elections 2023