Pacific Electoral Process Strengthened Through New Regional Program
November 6, 2023
Suva, Fiji: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office has launched a new project supporting Election Management Bodies (EMBs) across the region to help ensure that all Pacific peoples can fully exercise their political and voting rights.
The Pacific Elections Assistance Program (PEAP) - supported by the Government of New Zealand - will provide focused, efficient, and sustained electoral support to Pacific Island Countries over the next five years, with all countries in the region expected to hold national elections during this period.
PEAP has been established as a platform to deliver a comprehensive package of assistance to national and regional partners supporting democratic governance in the Pacific region.
The new initiative will focus on three outputs: (i) EMBs will be able to deliver effective, efficient, and inclusive elections with increased capacity and resources; (ii) EMBs will be able to make robust and informed decisions, safeguarding the integrity of elections with improved independence and stronger mandates; and (iii) Citizens will be able to actively engage, understand, and be committed to protecting democratic rights and values.
By combining multinational electoral support into a single program, PEAP will be able to efficiently provide technical advice across multiple focus areas and countries, enabling a continuous, long-term approach to addressing electoral challenges and responding accordingly.
While all Pacific Island countries organise and hold regular elections, tensions before, during, and after elections can potentially impact stability. Well-managed electoral processes are an essential element that support electoral safety, democracy, and peacebuilding. This new initiative is set to support EMBs in their efforts to protect the integrity of national elections and build democratic resilience.
Rustam Pulatov, Team Leader – Effective Governance and Inclusive Growth with UNDP Pacific, said:
"The initiative will ensure timely program development and ensure that electoral assistance aligns with Pacific Island Countries’ needs. It will do this by enabling an anticipatory approach to Pacific electoral support for both advocacy and assistance, ensuring that activities are aligned with priorities and UN capacities and funding, well in advance of need."
Bernadette Cavanagh, Deputy Secretary Pacific and Development Group, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, added:
“The PEAP will enable Pacific EMBs to safeguard the integrity of elections by building their capacity and capability as well as improve electoral laws, policies and processes to ensure that all citizens can vote freely. Empowering women, youth, and other marginalized groups to have an equal voice and participate in elections underpins a functioning democracy and Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to be collaborating with UNDP in this initiative.”
The PEAP will run through to March 2028.
For further media enquiries please contact:
Nick Turner, Communications Specialist, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji – firstname.lastname@example.org
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