29 Nov 2012
Signing of project document and financial agreement
Today the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN), the European Commission (EC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have embarked on a new partnership to strengthen the foundations of democracy in Nepal. A four year financing agreement was signed between the European Commission and Ministry of Finance to support the Election Commission’s ambitious institutional strengthening reform agenda that is built on its recent successes. A separate project implementation document was also signed between Election Commission and UNDP to implement the reform programme.
The new phase of the project entitled ‘Electoral Support Project Phase II’ was signed at the Ministry of Finance and is a joint initiative of the Government of Nepal, European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development partners. The project has a total budget of EUR 19.978 million with the European Commission being a significant contributor to the project.
The Project will support the ECN in carrying out its mandate of holding fair and credible elections, enhancing its institutional capacity both at central and local levels as well as increasing the capacity and reach of the newly established Electoral Education and Information Center. It will also promote activities to maintain stakeholder confidence in the electoral process and will support the ECN in meetingtheir increasingly advanced information and communication technologyneeds.
Commenting on the EU support to the ECN, Dr. Alexander Spachis, Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal said, "EU is committed to democracy around the world. This new support to ECN reflects EU commitment to consolidate democracy and peace in Nepal. Democracy is not limited to elections but periodic free and fair elections are the cornerstones of any democracy. EU wants to see national and local elections taking place in Nepal. The EU also hopes that this support will provide an opportunity to take action to further widen the voter base by a substantial number of people who, according to sources, are eligible but not yet registered."
“We firmly believe that we have to conduct a series of elections from local to national levels. This support from the EU and UNDP/ESP will be very helpful to turn all these plans to reality and ensure free, fair and credible elections with sustained democracy in the country,” Mr. Maheshwor Neupane, ECN Joint Secretary said.
“UNDP supports one in three parliaments in the developing world and an election every two weeks,” said Ms. Shoko Noda, UNDP Country Director.
“Through Phase II of the Project, UNDP will continue its partnership with the Election Commission of Nepal and development partners in providing technical assistance on capacity building, and will also provide operational and technical assistance during a series of upcoming elections to be held in coming years.”
Ms. Noda also thanked the Governments of the UK, Norway, Denmark, Australia and Japan for their extensive support to the Election Commission as a part wider electoral assistance.
Joint Secretary at the Foreign Aid Coordination Division of Ministry of Finance Madhu Marasini described elections as the backbone of democracy and welcomed the support from EU and UNDP to strengthen the capacity of the Election Commission in holding credible elections. He hoped that EU and other development partners will continue to extend their support in Nepal’s socio-economic development.
Whilst the ECN enjoys a high degree of public confidence in its activities, further growth and consolidation will assist it in meeting the demands of a growing electorate as well as bring electoral services closer to the community—by opening up accessible and permanent local offices through institutionalizing the continuous voter registration initiative.
The ESP Phase II builds on a strong partnership between the Government of Nepal, the European Commission, the Election Commission and UNDP to produce positive outcomes for the electoral process in Nepal.
Mr. John Narayan Parajuli, Communications Analyst, UNDP, Tel: 00-977-1-5523200 Ext. 1077, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Tapa Dipti Sitaula, Communications Analyst, UNDP, Tel: 00-977-1-5523200 Ext. 1020, email@example.com