The European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Liberia have signed a joint agreement to support the electoral processes of Liberia covering the period 2015 to 2018.
The agreement was signed Monday, 21 September 2015 at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission in Monrovia.
The Head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador TiinaIntelmannsigned on behalf of the EU while the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Antonio Vigilante,signed on behalf of the UNDP.
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Konneh, signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia.
Under the tripartite agreement, the EU will contribute 10 million Euro (approximately USD$11.4 million) while the UNDP will contribute USD$1 million.
The fund will be used to strengthen the capacity of the National Elections Commission, improve voter registration, enhance women participation in electoral processes, reinforce mechanisms for political parties and enhance security during elections. Part of the fund will be used to support civic and voter education and strengthen the legal framework for elections in the country.
In a brief remark, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary Generalextolled the National Elections Commission for the efforts of reform and enhanced credibility and capacity it has garnered in recent years, especially during the 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
Mr. Antonio Vigilante expressed optimism that the project will help strengthen the much increased credibility and capacity of the Commission as it prepares for a National Referendum and the 2017 General Elections.
For her part, the Head of Delegation of the European Union said the NEC has used its solid reputation built over the years, to effectively manage electoral processes in the country.
She urged the Commission to remain very vigilant, even in the wake of the draw down of UNMIL,in upholding such integrity by ensuring a level playing field for all candidates during the 2017 General Elections so as to guarantee public acceptance of the results.
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Konneh, described the joint EU-UNDP elections financing agreement as a shared commitment to strengthening the NEC in sustaining its quantum leap in the conduct of credible public elections.
Minister Konneh said the NEC has continuously proven its capacity to protect Liberia’s fledgling democracy even under very difficult circumstances as was demonstrated in 2014 when it conducted a free, fair, transparent and credible Special Senatorial Election during the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia.
Meanwhile, the Co-Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Sarah Toe, has described the joint agreement as a manifestation of the confidence reposed in the Commission by both the public and development partners.
She said the Commission was very grateful for the EU-UNDP support that would, in a meaningful way, enable it deliver the pending National Referendum and the 2017 General Elections.