On International Day of Democracy, UNDP affirms support for building a democratic Sierra Leone

15 Sep 2013

imagePolling staff educate voters on steps in the voting process on election day in Lunsar, Sierra Leone (UNDP B Krijgsman)

On International Day of Democracy, UNDP affirms support for building a democratic Sierra Leone

"On this International Day of Democracy, I call on leaders to hear, respect and respond appropriately to the voices of the people, whether expressed directly or through elected representatives.  I call on the world’s citizens to think about how they can use their voice to not only take control of their destiny, but to translate their desires and the desires of others into a better future for all." United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement to commemorate this day, calling citizens and governments to reach out to understand and listen to those who may be weaker or more vulnerable.

We as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would like to emphasize our strong commitment to support the Government of Sierra Leone in its efforts to build a stable and prosperous country.  We believe that promoting democracy and strengthening good governance are central to the transition from recovery to long-term development.

As Sierra Leone is moving towards peace consolidation and prosperity, UNDP will continue to promote peaceful, inclusive and credible electoral processes and increased access to justice, particularly for marginalized groups. We work with the government on establishing a leaner, performance-oriented civil service, enhancing the operations of key democratic institutions and ensuring that HIV/AIDS and gender considerations are mainstreamed into national planning and development processes.

Here are some highlights of our work in promoting good governance in Sierra Leone:

  • Through a coordinated approach with the Judiciary and other development partners, formal justice services are extended to rural areas through Mobile Courts. Through Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Saturday Court sittings, the backlog of SGBV cases in Freetown was reduced and cases involving women and girls were significantly fast-tracked.
  • The Family Support Unit Officers of the Sierra Leone Police were trained across the country on the SGBV Case Management Manual resulting in police prosecutors making charges and referrals to the appropriate provisions of the gender laws and charges to SGBV cases following effective investigations.
  • To effectively coordinate development partner assistance, reduce transaction costs and ensure the most strategic use of limited resources, UNDP has supported the establishment of the Parliamentary Assistance Coordination Office (PACO) and helps to make the parliament more effective. We help to build the skills of the Members of Parliaments and their staff as well as improve institutional arrangements.
  • UNDP promotes free and fair media through support to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, to ensure access to balanced, neutral and unbiased information for all citizens, and the Independent Media Commission which facilitates media monitoring and compliance with Sierra Leone’s Media Code of Practice.
  • UNDP provided extensive technical support to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in the design, procurement and implementation of the first ever Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system in Sierra Leone to register 2.7 million voters as well as successfully print and distribute voter identity cards across the country in the run-up to the 2012 elections. Establishment of Decentralized Election Result Management system and conduct of Several elections on the same day (Presidential, Parliamentary, Ward Councillors, City Mayors  and district chiefs
  • To further build democracy in Sierra Leone, UNDP supported the Electoral Offences Courts, Political Parties Registration Commission and the deployment of 14,000 security personnel across Sierra Leone before, during and after the 2012 election.

Amplifying people’s voices in how they are governed is an imperative that lies at the heart of democracy. We all have an equal stake in our shared future.  UNDP will continue to work with Sierra Leone in strengthening institutions and processes that are more responsive to the needs of ordinary citizens, including the poor, and that promote sustainable development.

Contact Information

Ms. Silke von Brockhausen

Communications Specialist

Tel.: +232 78 694 030

silke.von.brockhausen@undp.org

Skype: silke.von.brockhausen