Election Observation Missions

As part of its commitment to strengthening democracy and good governance, CPA UK regularly, in its role as secretariat for CPA's British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR), carries out and supports election observation work across the Commonwealth.

Since 2010, CPA BIMR has organised short-term Election Observer Missions (EOM) and Election Assessment Missions (EAM), and has supported a number of organisations in sourcing observers to participate in missions across the Commonwealth. Since the start of the global pandemic in 2020, CPA BIMR has also conducted virtual Election Expert Missions (EEM).

CPA BIMR is specialised in election observation work in UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.  

CPA BIMR is a signatory to the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, signed at the UN in 2005.

CPA BIMR is committed to ensuring a professional approach based on observation of all aspects of the electoral process in accordance with international obligations, commitments and standards for democratic elections.

Election observation expresses the Commonwealth's interest and concern in promoting democratic elections within its wider policy of support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

As part of its work, CPA UK has devised a comprehensive bespoke handbook on carrying out Election Observer Missions, setting out examples of good practice. You can download it here.


What CPA UK/BIMR can offer

1. Parliamentarians

CPA UK, on behalf of CPA BIMR, utilises networks and partnerships cultivated across and beyond the Commonwealth to assist in running its missions. As a parliamentary organisation, CPA UK brings together experienced parliamentarians, specialist NGOs and other related professionals to conduct high quality and comprehensive EOMs.

The participation of Commonwealth parliamentarians as observers is a key asset CPA UK brings to EOMs. Parliamentarians can offer credibility and visibility to missions. CPA UK sources parliamentarians from a cross-section of political and parliamentary backgrounds, all with some degree of election experience. This diversity and knowledge engender a balanced and objective approach. Associated training, briefings and participation assist observers' professional development.

For elections in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, observers are mainly sought from the CPA's British Islands and Mediterranean, Caribbean and Americas regions. Observers from legislatures of a similar size to the election setting provide relevant perspective and understanding.

2. Organisational efficiency

CPA BIMR has a successful record of planning and deploying election missions, usually within relatively short timescales. Its secretariat of trained and experienced staff provide first-class management and organisational support throughout the delivery of the mission.

3. Comprehensive and compact missions

CPA BIMR has developed its customised methodology, incorporating international standards, good practice and codes of conduct into smaller, short-term missions in keeping with the size of the electorate. CPA BIMR EOMs frequently take place in territories with fewer than 30,000 voters, however they observe all aspects of the election process. Missions usually have a relatively short in-country duration.


Recent Missions

This is a list of final EOM, EAM and EEM reports from all of CPA BIMR's recent missions.


Mission outcomes

Over the last ten years that CPA UK has been running Election Observation Missions on behalf of CPA BIMR, there has been considerable achievements made across the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in relation to electoral reform. 

To assess the impact of CPA BIMR’s election work, an independent report was commissioned from Academic Fellows, Dr Matthew Bishop (University of Sheffield) and Professor Jack Corbett (Monash University). This report was launched in March 2024 in the UK Parliament. Having shadowed CPA BIMR Election Observation Missions and interviewed a range of stakeholders from across the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, the Fellows concluded that these missions are 'overwhelmingly valuable and effective.' The report considers five specific forms of impact and assessed key dilemmas facing the work. The full report can be read here.

CPA UK's 2018 report on election observation can be downloaded here. Recent electoral reform in Jersey and the Turks and Caicos Islands has been covered in this article from December 2020.