The Kofi Annan Foundation holds the inaugural meeting of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age at Stanford University from 14 to 16 January 2019.
“Today, new technologies and social media platforms are profoundly changing democracies – and democratic processes everywhere” says Laura Chinchilla, the Chair of the Commission and a former President of Costa Rica.“While these provide the unequalled potential to deliver citizen’s hopes for democratic governance, they also create new challenges and risks for democratic processes and political rights. The world urgently needs a roadmap helping societies to mitigate the risks while harnessing the opportunities that technological innovation present for elections and democracy worldwide.”
Comprising leaders and experts from the tech sector, politics and academia, the Commission will identify and frame the challenges to electoral integrity arising from digital technologies and social media platforms.
The commission will focus on such critical questions as:
What is the potential of digital technologies to both strengthen and undermine elections?
How can the use of technology in elections be made transparent and accountable?
What opportunities and incentives can digital technology offer voters, especially young people, to engage in democratic processes?
“The Commission will deliver concrete recommendations to both the tech sector and policy-makers intended to help societies safeguard their electoral processes and democracies in the digital age, especially those less well prepared for this challenge”, says Alan Doss, President of the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The Commission, which was Kofi Annan’s last major policy initiative before he passed away in August 2018, is named after him in his honour. A project of the Kofi Annan Foundation, the commission will extend its longstanding work in support of democracy and electoral integrity.