ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Takashi Kurai, and the Country Director of United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in Pakistan, lgnacio Artaza on Wednesday signed an agreement to provide US$ 5.9 million over three years (2017-2020) to support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and to further strengthen its capacity to hold elections.
This project will build upon UNDP’s longstanding commitment to develop the capacity of key democratic institutions including provincial and national assemblies and the ECP itself.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, expressed pleasure over the eve of signing agreement between the government of Japan and UNDP for the project aiming to support the ECP.
He said that the project will further fortify ECP’s professional capacity to help strengthen electoral process of Pakistan.
Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan said, “I believe that both the Election Commission and UNDP will play their role to make the upcoming election credible and transparent; which surely will be a great achievement of democracy and development for all people of Pakistan.”
“The long-standing partnership between, UNDP, Japan and the ECP is instrumental in building a foundation for democratic governance and sustainable, inclusive development in Pakistan,” said Lgnacio Artaza.
“With the generous funding from Japan, this project will help build the institutional and technical capacity of the ECP to conduct credible and inclusive elections, enhance participation, especially by young voters and women, and work with UNESCO on building a media landscape in which election proceedings are covered accurately and objectively.”
Secretary ECP, Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad said: “The ECP’s successful partnership with UNDP under its electoral assistance project continues to enhance the professional capacity of the Commission’s staff and election officials, in addition to further increasing transparency of the process through the use of modern technologies.”
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with UNDP in our effort to conduct free, fair and transparent election, and to help create an informed and motivated electorate.”
In the run-up to the 2018 general election, this project will train election officials and educate voters, in addition to support the ECP modernizing the process through the use of technology.
During the election itself, the project will assist in improving voting operations and results management. This support will shift towards strengthening sustainable electoral institutions.
This contribution from Japan bolsters the existing support from UKAid and USAID, allowing UNDP to build upon its ongoing work to strengthen electoral and legislative processes in Pakistan.