9th Annual Meeting of Election Management Bodies
The Central Election Commission of Georgia (CEC) hosted the 9th Annual Meeting of Election Management Bodies (EMBs). The main theme of the meeting was “Electoral Integrity: Cyber Security and the Reliability of Information in Digital Era”.
Representatives of 19 EMBs, eight international organizations working on election issues, the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and British Embassy in Georgia participated in the conference.
Tamar Zhvania, CEC Chairperson, Matt Gokhool, Chief Executive of the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS), and Peter Wiebler, Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) made opening remarks at the event.
“Cybersecurity and disinformation issues are of critical significance in our digital era which may influence electoral integrity and credibility. Subsequently, this topic became extremely important during recent presidential elections. Despite the fact that the Election Administration (EA) of Georgia was not subject to very important and serious cases of cybercrime, yet, disinformation issues have been considerably raised and I think this international conference will help us to share the experience of different countries in cybersecurity and disinformation; it will also support us to combat cybercrime and disinformation and find ways to address them to prevent risks related to credibility and other types of the risks in the electoral process”, Tamar Zhvania told to journalists.
The conference was conducted on March 26-27 in Batumi and participants discussed important topics such as Technological risks in the electoral process and its solutions, System of data collecting, processing and security of elections, Inter-agency cooperation on cybersecurity in elections and so forth. Around 100 participants of the working meeting shared their experience and discussed future goals.
Tamar Zhvania, CEC Chairperson delivered a presentation about significant challenges for EA of Georgia, namely, cyber-attack and disinformation. In addition, as part of the conference, Tamar Zhvania informed participants on the electoral experience of independent Georgia and delivered a presentation titled “100 years anniversary of the first democratic elections in independent Georgia”.
Peter Wiebler, Mission Director of USAID and Matt Gokhool, Chief Executive of ICPS discussed cybersecurity and information reliability in the digital era; As Peter Wiebler pointed out to the media, cybersecurity and disinformation are growing challenges, and a number of countries across the globe are forced to face this reality, “this meeting is a great opportunity for a variety of EMBs since they share their successful experience and learn from one another to overcome these growing challenges”, according to Mission Director of USAID. Matt Gokhool stressed the need of holistic approach “we should know what cyberspace is and how to manage it. Such discourses support the development of democratic processes and consequently, deep discussions concerning the theme of the conference will help to develop these democratic processes,” noted Matt Gokhool.
The meeting of election management bodies is being held annually. Participants discuss key and pressing issues and share the experience.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) organized the international conference in cooperation with International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and with financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Countries participating in the meeting:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
International Organizations participating in the meeting:
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Council of Europe (CoE), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Embassies in Georgia participating in the meeting:
US Embassy to Georgia,
British Embassy to Tbilisi
Vendor Companies participating in the meeting: