Ballots not bullets, Liberia. Photo: Wiik/NORDEM

International Election Observation

Updated 04. Mar 2022
The NORDEM Programme is Norway’s official mechanism for providing Norwegian election observers to international election observation missions.

What is international election observation?

Election observers provide independent assessments of election processes through systematic gathering of information and by formulating concrete and obtainable recommendations to state authorities. The overall goal is to enable national authorities to improve the integrity of the electoral process and secure fundamental civil and political rights and promote democratic development and stability. 

The NORDEM pool of international election observers:

NORCAP manages a pool of approximately 150 qualified election observers, from which we select Norwegian observers to missions carried out by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and occasionally also the Carter Center or other international or regional organization. The NORDEM Programme is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

NORCAP deploys long-term observers (LTOs) for a period of approximately 6-8 weeks and short-term observers (STOs) for a period of approximately 1-2 weeks. In addition, we occasionally contract independent elections experts for country specific assignments or to undertake thematic research.

All NORCAP observers are trained in election observation methodology and international standards for democratic elections. They are thoroughly briefed and de-briefed by country experts and NORCAP staff before and after each mission. The observers write reports from their missions that provide us and other interested partners with valuable analysis of the electoral process and political context in the country in question.

How to become an election observer?

NORCAP recruits election observers to the pool through a competitive and thorough screening process that usually takes place every second year.

NORCAP - a centre of expertise in election observation

As a signatory to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, we work together with other international actors that have endorsed the Declaration and the accompanying Code of Conduct,  to ensure integrity and transparency in international election observation. Being a signatory allows us to participate in the annual meetings where trends, development and challenges to international election observation are discussed.

Our vast experience in international election observation is regarded as a resource, also in election related activities in Norway. NORCAP develops tuition programmes and delivers trainings to the Norwegian Parliament and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

NORCAP is also a the host of the NORDEM Study Programme to Norwegian Elections, a one week tailored study programme targeting election management bodies or parliamentary delegations from countries in political transition that want to study the Norwegian political and electoral system. To the Municipal and County Council elections in 2019, the national election commissions from Bosnia Herzegovina, Ghana, Myanmar, Ukraine and Somalia visited NORCAP. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about international election observation.