Electoral Support Project Phase II (ESP-II)
August 2008 - December 2012
January 2013 - May 2018
||Election Commission of Nepal
||European Union, DFID, Danida, Norway, UNDP
Following the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, UNDP initiated a three-year Electoral Support Project (ESP) Phase I, to extend comprehensive support to the Election Commission in materializing the electoral process in the spirit of democratic principles. As the need was felt to expand the role of ESP beyond its duration, the project was revised and extended till 2018 to meet the current requirements of the Election Commission.
While the project concentrated on providing technical advice and operational support for the upcoming cycle of elections in Phase I (2008-2012), in Phase II (2012-2018), ESP is responding to the need for continued capacity building of the Election Commission Nepal in order to build long-term institutional and human-resource capacity to organize credible elections in the context of a diverged political environment and a period of political instability.
The project has three major outputs:
1. Enhanced capacities of the Parliament for effective functioning and institutional reforms in line with the constitution
2. Increased capacity of the Parliament to substantively scrutinize and pass legislation, and monitor government activities and expenditure
3. Increased routine interactions between the Parliament and citizens, including women, youth and marginalized groups, to ensure the needs and concerns of citizens are reflected in the work of the Parliament
UN support to elections in Nepal dates back to the 1990s, when it coordinated and supported international observers during the national elections. In April 2008, Nepal held its first Constituent Assembly (CA) election since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006 to elect a constituent assembly mandated to draft a new constitution. The 2008 elections were conducted successfully by the Election Commission with significant assistance and technical support from the Electoral Assistance Office of the United Nations Mission in Nepal. Following the elections, UNDP initiated a three-year Electoral Support Project (ESP) Phase I, to extend comprehensive support to the Election Commission in materializing the electoral process in the spirit of democratic principles. As the need was felt to expand the role of ESP beyond its duration, the project was revised and extended till 2018 to meet the current requirements of the Election Commission.
While the project concentrated on providing technical advice and operational support for the upcoming cycle of elections in Phase I (2008-2012), in Phase II (2012-2018), ESP is responding to the need for continued capacity building of the Election Commission Nepal in order to build long-term institutional and human-resource capacity to organize credible elections in the context of a diverged political environment and a period of political instability. The project provided technical assistance for the CA election 2013.
What have we accomplished so far?
Strengthened capacity of the ECN to function as a permanent, independent, credible and professional institution of governance.
- Provided IT support to the registration of more than 15 million voters using photographs and biometric profiling, which resulted in a more reliable voter register. ESP also developed continuous voter registration software for the next electoral cycles.
· Supported to strengthen the human resources in the ECN and other stakeholders through 428 trainings for 14,268 participants on different areas in electoral education and professional development, such as voter registration, voter education, election management, IT, gender and social inclusion, women's leadership and social studies.
· Developed a pool of 88 accredited BRIDGE facilitators, including 17 international facilitators, allowing ECN to implement electoral trainings of international standard without external assistance.
· UNDP supported the ECN in the design, development and drafting of its second Strategic Plan (2015-2019) and two Action Plan (2015-2016 and 2017-2019) through consultations and workshops with national and international stakeholders. The effective implementation of ECN's new Strategic Plan will strengthen the technical capacity of the ECN to conduct credible, inclusive and well-organized elections.
Election cycle conducted in an effective, sustainable, and credible manner.
- Provided operational support during CA elections 2013 at national and sub-national levels such as through the establishment of a Joint Election Operation Centre, Media and Observer's Resource Centre, Call Centre and Event Tracking System. ECN has taken full ownership of all of these and operated them for the 2017 local elections without external support.
· Provided on-site technical and advisory support at the HQ and the regional levels through the presence of five regional offices embedded in the ECN.
· The ECN, with UNDP’s technical assistance, supported the development of a ‘Model Election Code of Conduct’ for future elections. The Code was designed in consultation with diverse stakeholders and based on international best practices and lessons learnt from past elections.
Increased democratic participation in the next cycle of elections, particularly for under-represented and disadvantaged segments of the Nepali society.
- Developed tools for the ECN to promote continuous electoral education by supporting the creation of the Electoral Education and Information Centre (EEIC) in Kathmandu, Dangadhi and Pokhara, and the inclusion of electoral education in the school curricula. The centres are also equipped with three sets of mobile EEIC to extend coverage to remote areas.
· Established the Gender Unit at the ECN and supported the development of the Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy and the Gender Action Plan for Nepal.
· Provided support to ECN public outreach activities to increase access and participation of voters, particularly for under-represented and disadvantaged segments of the Nepali society. This included a campaign to encourage women, Dalits and marginalized people to become candidates in the local elections, which reached over 50,000 people, out of which around 4,000 became candidates and 1,011 won the local elections.
· Educated more than 2,00,000 voters on proper voting process in over 8,000 local-level orientations.
· Supported ECN with the production and dissemination of numerous public outreach materials for the 2013 and 2017 elections, including street drama, radio and television programmes and public service announcements on social inclusion, participation and peaceful elections.
· With an objective to ensure the political and civic rights of the deaf community in Nepal, the project conducted special trainings and orientation on civic and voter education with the participation of more than 500 deaf people as well as produced TV PSAs and news in sign language in collaboration with National Federation of the Deaf Nepal. Similarly, in collaboration with Nepal Association of Blind, more than 500 people with visual impairments were provided with the voter education in Braille script.
· Knowledge products, designed and developed with ECN, including the Electoral Atlas 2013, Gender Book 'Her Voice-Her Choice' and Media Monitoring Report of CA Elections 2013, were launched for national and international stakeholders. These documents analyze and document lessons from the 2013 CA elections.