Foreign Policy Watch: India-SAARC Nations

[pib] Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: FEMBoSA

Mains level: Not Much

The Election Commission of India has handed over the Chair of FEMBoSA to the Election Commission of Bhutan for 2021-22.

What is FEMBoSA?

  • Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of SAARC Countries in 2012.
  • The forum aims to increase mutual cooperation with respect to the common interests of the SAARC’s EMBs.
  • The Forum has eight Member Election Management Bodies from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • The Election Commission of India was the latest Chair of the Forum (now Bhutan).

Its establishment

  • The first meeting of the representatives of Election Management Bodies of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the year 2010.
  • It was then decided at the conclusion that an organization representing those countries should be established.
  • Consequently, annual meets were held in the member countries and the charter for the organization also was adopted with the aim of fulfilling the objectives of the organization.
  • Since the creation of FEMBoSA, Annual Meetings were held in Pakistan (2011), in India (2012), in Bhutan (2013), in Nepal (2014),  in Sri Lanka (2015), in Maldives (2016), in Afghanistan (2017) and in Bangladesh(2018).

Objectives of FEMBOSA

  • Promote contact among the Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries
  • Facilitate the appropriate exchange of experience and expertise among members
  • Share experiences with a view to learning from each other
  • Foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting the free, fair, transparent, and participative election

Significant activities under FEMBoSA

  • Member organizations celebrate National Voter’s Day in a calendar year in their respective countries
  • An initiative of establishing South Asia Institute for Democracy and Electoral Studies (SAIDES) in Nepal
  • In order to increase knowledge related to elections, take initiatives to include voter education in the school-level textbooks of their respective countries
  • Implementation of recommendations of South Asian Disabilities Organizations for the inclusion of disabled people in the electoral system and the creation of a suitable election environment

Back2Basics: SAARC

  •  In 1985, at the height of the Cold War, leaders of South Asian nations — namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka — created a regional forum.
  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the goal of contributing “to mutual trust, understanding, and appreciation of one another’s problems.”
  • Afghanistan was admitted as a member in 2007.

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