The Japanese government and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Pakistan, Wednesday, signed an agreement to provide $ 5.9 million over three years (2017–2020) to support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to further strengthen capacity to hold elections.
The project will build upon UNDP’s longstanding commitment to develop the capacity of key democratic institutions including provincial and national assemblies and the ECP itself. In this regard, Japanese ambassador Takashi Kurai and UNDP Country Director Ignacio Artaza inked the documents here at a serene ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Japanese ambassador said, ”I believe that both the Election Commission and UNDP will play their role to make the upcoming election credible and transparent; which surely will be a great achievement of democracy and development for all people of Pakistan.”
“The long-standing partnership between UNDP, Japan and the ECP is instrumental in building a foundation for democratic governance and sustainable, inclusive development in Pakistan,” said Ignacio Artaza.
“With the generous funding from Japan, this project will help build the institutional and technical capacity of the ECP to conduct credible and inclusive elections, enhance participation, especially by young voters and women, and work with UNESCO on building a media landscape in which election proceedings are covered accurately and objectively.”
“The ECP’s successful partnership with UNDP under its electoral assistance project continues to enhance the professional capacity of the Commission’s staff and election officials, in addition to further increasing transparency of the process through the use of modern technologies,” said Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, Secretary, ECP.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with UNDP in our effort to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, and to help create an informed and motivated electorate.”
In the run-up to the 2018 general election, this project will train election officials and educate voters, in addition to support the ECP in modernizing the process through the use of technology. During the election itself, the project will assist in improving voting operations and results management.
Thereafter, support will shift towards strengthening sustainable electoral institutions. This contribution from Japan bolsters the existing support from UK Aid and USAID, thus allowing UNDP to build upon its ongoing work to strengthen electoral and legislative processes in Pakistan.