Bougainville 2015 elections : United Nations kicks off training and media support

cq5dam_web_699_470“These elections are of fundamental importance to Bougainville. OBEC welcomes the UN´s support in these key components of a democratic election.”

OBEC´s acting Commissioner, George Manu

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is starting a comprehensive training programme focusing on election Scrutineers, Returning Officers, and Media in Bougainville.

The polling period will fall between May 11 and May 25. Counting will commence immediately after the polling period from May 26 to June 7 and the writs will be returned the next day, June 8, 2015

The trainings are part of UNDP´s effort to enhance the understanding of the 2015 Bougainville general elections process, due to start from 11 May. UNDP will also be supporting the coordination of election observation groups, providing training support to women candidates, and facilitating a post-elections lessons-learnt exercise.

The scrutineer training is expected to reach as many as 720 people and aims to provide scrutineers with an overview of the electoral process and their role in it so that any complaints raised during polling and counting are based on an understanding of those processes.

UNDP will also facilitate small group and one-on-one training discussions with Bougainville’s 19 Returning Officers, focusing on the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission´s (OBEC) process for handling complaints during the polling and counting periods. The training aims to ensure that complaints about elections are resolved in a consistent, transparent, and timely manner.

The media training will target local media houses. The main objective of the training is to equip journalists with the basic knowledge and professional skills that will enable them to cover election processes in a fair, balanced, and non-partisan way and through them enable citizens to become well-informed and active participants in the political decision processes.

“Election stakeholders, such as Scrutineers, Returning Officers, and Media, are a key component of the wider election process. By ensuring their understanding of their role and the electoral procedures, we are promoting credible elections,” said Ray Kennedy, UNDP´s electoral support team leader.

OBEC´s acting Commissioner, George Manu, stated that “These elections are of fundamental importance to Bougainville. OBEC welcomes the UN´s support in these key components of a democratic election.”

Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, said that “The UN is working closely with OBEC. This training will assist to ensure free and transparent elections.”

UNDP has tailored its election support following a request of the Government of PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for a UN electoral assistance project to strengthen local capacity in the lead up to the 2015 elections.

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Media accreditation to start for 2015 general elections in Bougainville

28 Apr 2015The Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) has today announced the start of a media accreditation process for the coverage of the 2015 elections.The accreditation process will start on 27 April and will continue through the elections to allow the media easier access to election officials, locations, and information.OBEC invites all interested media houses to request further details on the accreditation process from the election commission´s Media Relations unit.

Together with their accreditation badge, journalists will receive an election handbook containing useful information on the election process.

According to OBEC´s Acting Commissioner, George Manu, “OBEC, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, has developed a simple media accreditation process that will enable journalists to gain access to relevant electoral events”.

“This new process of media accreditation is one further step to pave the way for credible and transparent elections, according to international election standards”, Manu added.

OBEC is the entity responsible for the administration and conduct of the Bougainville 2015 general elections, to be held from 11 May.
UNDP is providing support to the OBEC’s media accreditation process as part of its wider work on supporting the Autonomous Bougainville Government in upholding general elections scheduled to take place in May-June 2015.
Specific assistance will be provided to the areas including: the development of step-by-step prioritized electoral support plan; provision of technical guidance on implementing the support plan; coordinating the deployment of international observers; training of election scrutineers; developing training materials and providing hands-on training for female candidates and more. Project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with its sister agencies and will run from March to July 2015.