Liberia Electoral Support Project

Background

The Liberia Electoral Support Project (LESP) supports the Government of Liberia through the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct credible, transparent, inclusive, and peaceful elections, leading to accountable and confident public institutions, and a prosperous Liberia, in line with the Government of Liberia Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, and a comprehensive UNDP Governance Portfolio.

LESP adopts a human rights-based approach and strives to Leave No One Behind by focusing programmes on the most vulnerable and marginalized. It adapts to changing and unforeseen circumstances, addressing structural issues to ensure lasting and sustainable results. At the same time, the Project consciously applies a gender lens to everything it does, taking the different needs, roles, and access to and control of resources of women and men into consideration in a push for gender equality.

Working almost exclusively with UNDP core resources, along with a sole contribution from Germany, LESP launched in September 2020. It represented the only direct support to the NEC during the 2020 Special Senatorial Elections and Constitutional Referendum. With a budget of slightly more than US$1.3 million available to the Project, the focus was on filling gaps as needed, with particular attention to interventions that improve the quality, transparency, and credibility of the electoral process, as well as the capacity of the NEC and other electoral stakeholders.

The limited international technical support employed illustrates the enhanced national ownership that has been built over the years through the UNDP electoral basket fund assistance supported by the European Union, Sweden, Irish Aid, Canada, Germany, and Japan, as well as other direct support from USAID, ECOWAS, and the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

The Project focuses on:

1.     Strengthening Inclusion and Transparency of the Electoral Process: The Project supports strategic approaches to communication, comprehensive civic and voter education throughout the electoral cycle, as well as the right and opportunity to vote and to participate in democratic processes for vulnerable and marginalised groups.

2.     Enhancing Institutional Capacity and Accountability of Electoral Stakeholders: Employing a comprehensive approach to capacity-building at system, organisational, and individual levels, the Project focuses on further strengthening the capacity of electoral stakeholders in more advanced areas of electoral operations. The support is also tailored toward more sustainable, transparent, and cost-effective organisation of elections.

3.     Working for the Peaceful Conduct of Elections: The Project focuses on early warning mechanisms, the conduct of security forces, and the prevention of violence against women in elections. The direct beneficiaries are the National Elections Commission staff and Board of Commissioners.

What have we accomplished so far?

Working almost exclusively with UNDP core resources, along with a sole contribution from Germany, LESP launched in September 2020.  It represented the only direct support to the NEC during the 2020 Special Senatorial Elections and Constitutional Referendum (SSE&CR). With a budget of slightly more than US$1.3 million available to the Project, the focus was on filling gaps as needed, with particular attention to interventions that improve the quality, transparency, and credibility of the electoral process, as well as the capacity of the NEC and other electoral stakeholders. The limited international technical support illustrates the enhanced national ownership that has been built over the years through the UNDP electoral basket fund assistance supported by the European Union, Sweden, Irish Aid, Canada, Germany, and Japan, as well as other direct support from USAID, ECOWAS, and the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

With the recruitment of an international and national advisers, LESP supported the launch of an Electoral Dispute Resolution programme. The Project further supported the recruitment and training of 2 national lawyers, 21 hearing officers, and 22 hearing clerks. The NEC, in partnership with LESP and the National Democratic Institute, trained more than 400 representatives of political parties and independent candidates on campaign finance reporting and electoral complaint mechanisms. Together with ZOA and Internews, LESP also brought together more than 150 law enforcement representatives and media personnel to discuss their respective electoral obligations, responsibilities, and mandates. More than 6,500 pocket guides on elections security for law enforcement personnel were distributed as well. Through its collaboration with the Joint Electoral Task Force the Project supported the Peacebuilding Office in developing standard operating procedures for the Election Situation Room (ESR). The ESR played an important role in prevention and mitigation of electoral violence, including in Gbarpolu county.

Out of more than 2 million registered voters, 926,409 participated in the December 8, 2020 SSE&CR. Compared to the 10 October 2017 presidential polls, the number of invalid votes dropped to 4.94% from 5.39% in the 2017 presidential race and 5.15% for the House of Representatives.

With support from Germany, the Project procured COVID-19 protective materials with pandemic awareness messaging that were distributed through the NEC civic and voter education campaign. Support was also provided to review and print electoral training materials, specifically training manuals for all categories of polling staff.

Impact

START DATE

September 2015

END DATE

March 2022

STATUS

Completed

PROJECT OFFICE

Liberia

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER

United Nations Development Programme

DONORS

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Irish Aid

SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (SIDA)

UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PRO

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS

$19,996,443

DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS

2015$25,124

2016$4,125,136

2017$4,155,208

2018$3,114,817

2019$1,943,339

2020$2,162,023

2021$120,225

Full Project information