Islamabad, March 18, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Pakistan signed an agreement today to support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in carrying out the upcoming elections. The Government of Japan’s assistance, totaling $2 million, will allow the ECP to train its polling staff, improve the elections results management system and extend its voter education outreach. Over 426,000 polling staff will be trained with UNDP support between March and May this year.
Computer equipment with customized software is being sent to all returning officers across Pakistan. For the first time in Pakistan, tamper evident bags will be used to safeguard results sheets during their transportation from polling stations to the offices of the returning officer.
Voter education will be extended to encourage vulnerable groups including rural women, minorities and people with disabilities to cast their votes. Mr. Marc-André Franche, Country Director of UNDP Pakistan, thanked the Government of Japan for its generous support and contribution to a stronger democratic system in Pakistan. He said, “The Government of Japan’s assistance comes at a critical time. It highlights once again the importance for Pakistan to organize timely elections according to the Constitution. This assistance enables UNDP to continue supporting the ECP to finalize its preparations for election day with the aim of holding credible, transparent and inclusive elections.”
The signing ceremony was held at the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad. Last week, UNDP Pakistan handed over the first set of voter education materials to the ECP. UNDP is assisting the Election Commission of Pakistan in areas such as training, results management and voter education through a three year electoral cycle support project supported by the Governments of Australia, Norway, the European Union and now Japan. UNDP works closely with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in support of the ECP.
For more information, contact:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan
4th Floor, Serena Office Complex,
Cell: +92300 535 8225