The focus of our work partly depends on the electoral cycle of member states and national and international political developments. Political analysis can predict areas of possible democratic upheaval but it is difficult to predict the timing of such events. Because of this we remain flexible to respond to political uncertainties. Coups, unrest and other unforeseen events require flexibile action and a quick response.
Democracy is supported through placement of advisers, who are vital in promoting long-term democracy in member countries. We promote best practice and strengthen democratic values through workshops, seminars, conferences and publications.
Our work in a country affects all aspects of society from local communities, political parties to civil society groups and three branches of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. In some cases it can impact on neighbouring countries and the wider international community.
We work with a number of organisations involved in observing elections such as the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Organisation for American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU). They are also all signatories of the Declaration of Principles and Code of Conduct for observer missions. For example, we have undertaken a joint mission with the PIF in Papua New Guinea and co-operated closely with the AU, OAS and EU in many countries. We also work with a number of domestic observer groups.
We collaborate with other organisations within the Commonwealth such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF). In Guyana, we worked with the CPA to help the government set up their strategic plan, identify ways to strengthen the capacity of its parliament and provide a framework for developing parliamentary procedures and staffing. We brought together media and parliamentarians in a joint Secretariat-CPA seminar to find ways of how these two institutions could work better together.