The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have partnered together for the grant assistance of $3,611,350 to support the Election Commission through UNDP’s Electoral Support Project phase II.
The agreement was signed by Norwegian ambassador Alf Arne Ramslien and UNDP country director Shoko Noda, at the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) in presence of Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety today.
In addition to funding election operations and logistics for the upcoming elections, the Norwegian support will be spent on ongoing voter registration, electoral mapping, dispute resolution and strategic planning, part of second phase of UNDP’s Electoral Support Project.
The UNDP project is supporting the Commission in carrying out its mandate of holding fair, credible and inclusive 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 centre.
Ramslien, speaking at the signing ceremony, said that elections have to be held at the earliest. "There is no alternative to holding elections at the earliest,” he said, adding that Norway is proud to partner with UNDP for the institutional strengthening of the Election Commission. "Norway has immense confidence in the Election Commission."
Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety thanked Norway and UNDP for their continued support. "The Election Commission would like to assure the development partners that the resources provided will go a long way creating conducive environment for the elections and also for the overall election preparations,” Uprety said.
Likewise, UNDP country director Noda expressed gratitude to the Norwegian government for their continued collaboration with the UNDP in supporting Nepal as it transitions to democracy.
“The resources provided will be used for the further strengthening of the Commission’s capacity,” she said, thanking Chief Election Commission for bringing all the development partners together in pursuit of a common goal of holding credible elections.
Whilst the Election Commission enjoys a high degree of public confidence in its activities, further growth and consolidation will assist it in meeting the demands of growing electorate as well as bring electoral services closer to the community by institutionalising the continuous voter registration initiative at local levels.
UNDP’s Electoral Support Project Phase II builds on a strong partnership between the government, the Election Commission and with all the developments partners to produce positive outcomes for the electoral process in Nepal.
Operating in Nepal since 1963, UNDP Nepal is currently supporting more than 20 projects and programmes in the areas of Transitional Governance; Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Livelihoods; Peace Building and Recovery; Energy, Environment and Natural Disaster Management.