UNDP ends workshop on electoral operational planning with UNDP calling for “Credible and technically sound” elections
A three day workshop on Electoral Operational Planning organized by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under its Global Programme for Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS), held at the Taia Resort Hotel in Freetown, ended Friday, 3rd June, 2011. The workshop was attended by delegates from over 25, mainly African countries representing Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and UNDP Country Offices.
The delegates came up with recommendations to help improve various aspects of electoral management and strategic and operational planning including budgeting, ICT in elections and procurement. The recommendations from the workshop will be published and shared among workshop participants and beyond. Some of the recommendations include measures to ensure the independence of the EMBs, that electoral budgets should be based on a strategic plan using the electoral cycle approach and that the use of ICTs and biometric for voter registration should be adapted and customized to suit local conditions.
Chairperson, National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, Dr. Christian Thorpe, speaking at the opening earlier said, “Our understanding of elections will be strengthened by this workshop…we are presently in the 2010-2014 electoral cycle in Sierra Leone and we hope that hosting this workshop will help us to learn from experiences of elections across the world, while sharing ours from Sierra Leone” adding that, “Eventually this process should help us to organize a far better and effective elections come 2012.”
Executive Representative of the UN Secretary General (ERSG) in Sierra Leone, Michael van der Schulenburg said, “Elections will only succeed if political parties and the people of a country believe in the process - that they are fair. It is not just about political parties competing for power”.
UNDP Country Director, Mia Seppo, in her closing remarks reflected that the workshop demonstrated that “old, sometimes tired, democracies in Europe can learn from Africa” adding that African countries have a lot of experience, capacity and innovation in the areas of electoral process which they need to own and share with the rest of the world.
Ms Seppo noted further that the workshop recommendations, arrived at through a dialogue between the participants from the EMBs and UNDP offices, show that a multi-lateral organizations like UNDP provides a useful platform for a global knowledge network on elections, and other development issues.
Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sierra Leone. Tel: + 232 33 167 428. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org