The United Nations through the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Papua New Guinea will support the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) in carrying out the upcoming elections through “Support of the 2015 Bougainville General Elections” initiative.
The new initiative launched in March 2015 is a follow-up to the request of the Government of PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for UN-backed electoral support to the general elections in Bougainville scheduled to take place in May-June 2015.
The project will provide short-term – 5 month – support to the electoral process in the following six areas: (1) coordination of the observer effort, (2) support to the establishment of electoral dispute resolution mechanisms (3) training support to women candidates; (4) training of candidates and scrutineers; (5) training of media representatives, and (6) support to a post-elections lessons learnt exercise.
“The ABG welcomes the support provided by the UN family for the conduct of transparent and credible 2015 elections in Autonomous Region of Bougainville. This support is timely and will go a long way in providing a safe and enabling environment for the pathway to peace and development in Bougainville and creating a credible road map for the referendum to take place within the next five years”, – said Monovi Amani, Chief Secretary of ABG.
“This work aims to assist Bougainville to move towards a long-standing peace based on a democratic process so that the people of Bougainville can build a better future for all. As the UN team in Papua New Guinea, we are committed to support the Government of Bougainville to conduct credible, transparent and inclusive elections” – said Mr. Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative.
The upcoming elections are seen as crucial as they will mark the start of the referendum period agreed upon in the Bougainville Peace Agreement with the new leadership leading Autonomous Region of Bougainville and its people towards referendum. In this context the need for transparent, credible and well-administered elections is critical.
The project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with its sister agencies and will run from March to July 2015. While the project focuses on immediate support to the General Elections, opportunities for a wider long-term initiative on development support to the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner are being seized.
Some of the upcoming activities of the project include:
- Training of international and domestic observers, providing them with materials on political context of the elections, the electoral operation plan, procedures used in the polling and counting centers and etc.
- Support to the establishment of electoral dispute resolution mechanisms that will enhance the legitimacy of the elections and provide voters with an official outlet for electoral complaints.
- Supporting female candidates to participate in the elections. The project will support women candidates by providing information on legal and institutional framework, relevant advocacy and lobbying tools and more.
- Training of scrutineers to ensure the credible counting of ballots. Series of trainings will be carried out in the North, Central and South Bougainville. Training will include detailed information on the tabulation and announcement of result process.
- Training of media representatives to ensure fair and informed reporting. The project will work with media to equip them with necessary skills and knowledge to cover electoral processes.
A lessons-learnt exercise will be conducted at the end of the project and the elections to identify areas for support in future elections.
UNDP is the largest provider of electoral assistance in the UN system. It has been involved in supporting the electoral cycle in more than 58 countries, and in most cases its assistance has been instrumental to the holding of credible elections, bringing more professional electoral management, more inclusive electoral processes, and more credible elections than would have been the case without it’s support.
“The UN has supervised and observed elections and referendums worldwide and increasingly focuses its electoral efforts on providing technical assistance to help countries build credible and sustainable national electoral systems. We will use the best of this knowledge and expertise for the benefit of Bougainville and the whole country” – added Mr. Roy Trivedy.