AT A GLANCE
Official Name: Plurinational State of Bolivia
Chief of State: President Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Next election: 2014
Capital: Sucre (constitutional capital), La Paz (administrative capital)
Population: 9.86 million (UN, 2009)
Independence: 1825 from Spain
Human Development Index: 113 of 182 countries (UN, 2009)
Gender Gap Index: 82 of 134 countries (World Economic Forum, 2009)
Gross National Income per capita: US$1,460 (World Bank, 2009)
Improving the Quality of Official National Statistics
Local Organization: National Statistics Institute (Institute National de Estadistica - INE)
Canadian Experts: Marc-Louis Ducharme and Norma Chhab-Alperin, both of Statistics Canada
Bolivia’s National Statistics Institute (INE), has a mandate similar to that of Statistics Canada. It is responsible for the planning, execution, control and coordination of the nation’s statistical information. It oversees the national census, and compiles and analyzes socio- economic and demographic data.
INE approached Deployment for Democratic Development for assistance in improving an important economic indicator, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the change in prices of consumer goods and services. After reviewing INE’s capabilities and resources, Canadian experts Louis-Marc Ducharme and Norma Chhab-Alperin of Statistics Canada are working with the Institute to strengthen Bolivia’s statistical system. They are providing technical advice, developing methodologies and training INE personnel. The result will be a standardized and transparent classification structure for the dissemination of CPI results, and the introduction of quality adjustments in calculating the CPI.
Strengthening Bolivia’s Electoral Registry
Status: Complete, 2009
Local Organization: National Electoral Court (Corte Nacional Electoral- CNE)
Canadian Experts: John Courtney, University of Saskatchewan, Lorne Gibson, Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Alberta,
Wayne Donovan & John Hersey
The CIDA-funded Deployment for Democratic Development (DDD) supports Bolivia’s National Electoral Court (Corte Nacional Electoral- CNE) in their efforts to ensure that comprehensive, secure processes and procedures are in place to capture and manage the registration data from each eligible elector for the December 6, 2009 national elections. The work planning mission for this initiative was undertaken in the fall of 2008 by Canadian experts John Courtney of the University of Saskatchewan and Lorne Gibson, Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Alberta, who provided recommendations for updating and improving the existing national electoral registry.
"I was very impressed with the state of electoral development in Bolivia and the passion people have for their democracy. Election administrators with the National Electoral Court were very receptive to suggestions for improving their systems and brought a lot to the table in coming up with workable solutions." - Lorne Gibson
Wayne Donovan, electoral administration expert and specialist in automated registers of electors, spent a week in Bolivia to observe the operations of the CNE’s Register of Electors in the days preceding, during and immediately after the Bolivian National Referendum (January 25, 2009). At the end of his mission, he assessed the functionality of the registry information system for the purposes of the technical audit and further defined the requirements and scope of work for the completion of the technical audit. He also made numerous recommendations regarding a major initiative underway (estimated at approximately US $20 million) to replace the existing Register of Electors with a Biometric Register of Electors for use in the December 2009 national election. This Project entailed collecting biometric data, finger prints and digital pictures, for each of the four million plus eligible electors.
"Canada has so much to offer the developing world when it comes to fair, honest and trusted electoral administration. Bolivian electoral officials were anxious to learn about voter registration practices in Canada and it was one of the greatest pleasures of my life as a political scientist to be able to assist them in planning improvements to their registration system." - John Courtney
Mr. Donovan returned to La Paz in April 2009 at the request of the CNE, to assist with planning, organizing and developing risk mitigation strategies for the Project to implement a Biometrics Register of Electors as required by the new Election Law. Simultaneously, IT security specialist John Hersey conducted a security assessment and made recommendations for providing a secure IT infrastructure for the new Biometrics Register of Electors. He provided additional deliverables on the subjects of security enterprise architecture, selecting and evaluating security products, secure virtual server architecture, how to develop a security audit program and lastly, a security overview document combining the components of the previously mentioned deliverables. These documents were translated so that the IT group at CNE would be able to derive maximum value from these delivered materials.
Mr. Donovan is also leading a Data Quality Analysis Project to assist the CNE to identify and rectify potential duplicates and other anomalies in the existing Register of Electors. This is a critical activity for the CNE in order to deploy a contingency plan should the Biometrics Register of Electors not be implemented for the December 2009 general election and to provide a “cleansed” data base for integration into the new Biometrics Register of Electors.
“The opportunity to act as an International Observer in the January 2009 referendum in Bolivia was both an honour and a tremendous experience. The citizens were excited and anxious to make their vote count. It was a well-conducted electoral event and the people treated the day like a national festival. The Country closes down on polling day, you can’t drive anywhere unless you have a good reason and get a permit. So it became a family outing and a local street party at each poll that I visited. People are required to vote in Bolivia and they turned-out en masse. Quite a difference from electoral events in Canada!” - Wayne Donovan
From Left to Right: Carlos Portocarrero (Governance Consultant - UASCC); John Lok (Senior Development Office, Bolivia Program, Americas Branch - CIDA); John Courtney (Professor Emeritus, Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan); and Minh-Tien Nguyen (Acting Head of Aid - Embassy of Canada, La Paz). Photo taken at the Canadian Mission, La Paz