Declaration of Principles Working Group

The Democratic Elections Standards project works to advance the principles of professional election observation established in the Declaration of Principles and Code of Conduct.

The Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers (Arabic | English | French | Russian | Spanish) were drafted in response to the proliferation of observer organizations and methodologies, in an attempt to ensure the professionalism and credibility of the field. From 2002-2005, The Carter Center, National Democratic Institute, and United Nations Electoral Assistance Division collaborated on the project, culminating in the formal endorsement of the Declaration of Principles by 22 intergovernmental and international nongovernmental organizations at a ceremony hosted by the United Nations. Since then, the numbers of current endorsers have continued to grow.

The Declaration of Principles recognizes the imperative of respecting the sovereignty of host governments as well as observers’ need for access to all aspects of the electoral process. It outlines the minimum requirements for credible observation, underscores the importance of long-term monitoring of all phases of an election, and encourages organizations to harmonize their methodologies.

The Declaration of Principles establishes the basis for election observation that is consistent and credible. This in turn promotes public confidence in elections, where warranted. Since the Declaration of Principles was endorsed 10 years ago, it has raised the profile of election observation and highlighted the importance of genuine elections as the foundation of democratic governance.

International meetings on the implementation of the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation are held each year to allow members of the observation community to discuss critical challenges facing observation and how best to advance the field.

Summaries of proceedings from the nine prior annual meetings are below:

(Hosted by the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa)
EISA 20th Anniversary Symposium Conference Proceedings

In 2010, endorsers of the Declaration of Principles agreed on the Guiding Principles and Common Approaches for Follow Up on Election Observation Mission Recommendations and guidance on Observing Electronic Voting.