Government of Sierra Leone, electoral bodies, UN and partners approve elections programme
At a meeting of the Local Project Appraisal Committee (LPAC), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), development partners, Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and National Elections Watch (NEW) representing civil society, the UN and other partners have reviewed and unanimously approved the “Support to Electoral Cycle in Sierra Leone – 2011-2014” programme document last Thursday 3rd February 2011 in Freetown.
The newly approved Elections programme will focus on enhancing the institutional and management capacity of NEC and PPRC, including among others, improving electoral administration as a whole, legal reform and electoral dispute resolution. The Programme also aims to strengthen conflict management and electoral security through the creation of a temporary Electoral Offences Court (EOC) and cooperation with the Sierra Leone Police and the Office of National Security (ONS) to improve security before, during and after the elections.
The meeting, co-chaired by Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Finance and Economic Development and Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg, Executive Representative of the Secretary General (ERSG), was held at the conference hall of the MoFED.
Dr Kamara said that the Government will work with all partners across Ministries for free, fair and peaceful elections in 2012 and beyond. Dr. Kamara also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to meeting its own financial obligations to the electoral cycle.
The ERSG stated that the 2012 elections in Sierra Leone are critical for the consolidation of peace. The complex elections in 2012 will be a test to all institutions involved. Mr. Schulenburg further noted that national electoral bodies like PPRC and NEC have grown in capacity and effectiveness over the years and that the process in 2012 will be led by them, with the UN playing a supportive role.
UNDP Country Director, Ms. Mia Seppo, stated that the management of the election basket fund will be the most significant programme of UNDP over the next couple of years. UNDP is grateful for the trust from partners in carrying out this role and committed to support a well managed, transparent and inclusive process.
In the discussions that followed, development partners emphasized the importance of sustainability and careful prioritization of key interventions with the limited resources available. The critical role of civil society and non-state actors in confidence building measures and sensitization, voter education, political dialogue and conflict prevention was recognized. Development partners confirmed their respective contributions to the Election Basket Fund.
The “Support to Electoral Cycle in Sierra Leone – 2011-2014” programme was developed following a series of reviews, evaluations and lesson learning exercises, and the project will also focus on increasing levels of electoral and democratic awareness by working with political parties, civil society and the media to ensure the representation of disadvantaged segments of society, particularly women, youth and the disabled.
Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sierra Leone. Tel: + 232 33 167 428. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org