The European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Liberia on Monday signed several agreements to support the Liberia Electoral Cycle for 2015 to 2017.
Under the tripartite arrangement, the EU will contribute 10 million Euro (approximately USD$11.4 million) and the UNDP USD$1 million to help strengthen the capacity of the National Elections Commission, improve voter registration, enhance women participation in the electoral processes, reinforce mechanisms for political parties and enhance security during elections. The money will be further spent on actions to improve civic and voter education, strengthen the electoral legal framework and to engender successful conduct of elections.
At the signing ceremony, attended by Government officials and other stakeholders, the Co-chair of the Board of Commissioners of NEC, Madame Sarah Toe said the commission appreciates the support it gets particularly, from the EU in that it has helped to make the Liberian elections processes in the past very successful.
On his part, the Resident Representative of the UNDP, Antonio Vigilante mentioned that the Election Support Project would help to strengthen the credibility and capacity of NEC to ensure free, fair and democratic elections. “Election is the foundation of democracy and democracy is the foundation for peace”, he stated. The UNDP Representative indicated that EU and the UNDP enjoy a formidable collaboration on elections policies and financing, and called on more partners to join this collaboration in supporting the NEC to further demonstrate confidence and commitment to an efficient and effective election processes.
Making remarks, the Head of the European Union Delegation in Liberia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann stated that the EU is well known for, and is a strong supporter of democratisation in the world. She explained that one of the essential elements of the partnership between Liberia and the EU is the promotion of democratic principles, together with the respect of human rights and the rule of law. Concretely promotion of democratic principles is discussed in the regular political dialogue between Liberia and the EU and it is also part of the agreed support of the EU development cooperation in Liberia, she stressed.
The EU also conducts electoral observation of national electoral processes in agreement with the countries’ institutions, is a financial supporter of ECOWAS and the African Union in their mandate to support and observe national electoral processes.
Ambassador Intelmann expressed her wishes of a successful project that can help the NEC, the Judiciary, security forces, political parties and civil society in the conduction of free, fair and peaceful electoral processes in the coming years.