Global Project for Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS Phase II 2015 -2017)
Elections are fundamental political processes and are a critical (albeit insufficient) element of democratic governance. Yet, elections that reflect the will of the people (and are also popularly perceived as doing so) depend on far more than the technical administration of electoral operations on polling day. Rather, the credibility of elections is dependent on a complex interplay of electoral laws, systems, institutions and processes that transcend any election event. Focusing in a sustained manner on this range of processes, capacities and entry points – rather than the election per se – is known as the electoral cycle approach.
In 2009, UNDP launched the first-ever global project in electoral assistance – the Global Programme for Electoral Cycle Support (GPECS – 2009 - 2014). GPECS focused on capacity development during the electoral cycle and provided direct support to the electoral institutions and processes in 18 countries worldwide. It has contributed to significant improvements in the UN’s policy and applied practice in electoral assistance in all regions and in promoting gender mainstreaming in electoral processes and institutions. One of the most successful features of GPECS has been its ability to be the ‘first on the ground’ by using a rapid response, fast-track mechanism to request and approve country-level electoral support and also funding through a Quick Intervention Fund for gender and elections. Because funding for all activities were already in the pipeline, GPECS was able to evaluate expressions of interest and assign spending limits to country offices within days of being made aware of needs. This greatly improved the UN’s ability to react quickly to emerging priorities, while also ensuring that funds go both to support specific elections and to enhance longer-term electoral institutions and processes.
GPECS Phase II (2015 - 2017) continues the successful approach of GPECS I in order to strengthen the electoral laws, institutions and processes that deepen democracy and accelerate human development. The Project seeks to accomplish this goal by:
1. Providing leadership, advocacy and capacity development in the field of electoral cycle support at the global level;
2. Supporting peer cooperation and promoting regional knowledge development, exchanges and capacity;
3. Supporting electoral cycle interventions and lessons learned at the national level; and
4. Mainstreaming gender in electoral assistance and promoting women’s political participation.
GPECS II builds on the successes and achievements of GPECS I as well as lessons learned in recent evaluations and studies examining the UNDP electoral assistance portfolio, and focuses on those areas that have proven to be highly strategic and yielding high-quality results. The four pillars – global, gender, regional and country – are inter-dependent and mutually reinforcing.
Globally, GPECS II concentrates on cutting-edge knowledge products that advance the electoral cycle approach in identified gap areas such as civil and voter registration registries, the application of new technologies, and identity management in the biometric age, political party registration and finance regulation, and electoral risk assessment and dispute resolution.
The Project supports UNDP’s efforts to better integrate electoral assistance into other areas of democratic governance and peacebuilding. At the regional level, GPECS II focuses on the exchange of good practices, peer networking and knowledge creation and dissemination in all regions—Africa, Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe and CIS and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The gender work takes gender responsive electoral assistance to the next level, and engages with multiple global and regional organizations, which share similar objectives and mandates.
GPECS II allows for earmarked and unearmarked contributions and features a mechanism that allows donor contributions to be channeled to specific countries and features a fast-track mechanism to fund these electoral processes in very short timeframes. Channeling funding for national electoral processes through GPECS II, provides the added benefit of linking country-level support to global and regional lessons learned and policies and vice versa. This promotes and reinforces the overall coherence and quality control of electoral assistance. A Steering Committee gives the strategic direction of GPECS II and approves allocation of country funds.
The total Project budget is expected to be USD $38 million for a period of three years (2015 -2017). GPECS II is led from UNDP headquarters in New York to ensure synergies with other UN entities and further areas of governance and peacebuilding, especially those focusing on inclusive political processes.
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