UNDP is starting a comprehensive training programme focusing on election Scrutineers, Returning Officers, and Media in Bougainville. The trainings are part of UNDP´s effort to enhance the understanding of the 2015 Bougainville general elections process, due to start from 11 May. UNDP will also be supporting the coordination of election observation groups, providing training support to women candidates, and facilitating a post-elections lessons-learnt exercise.
The scrutineer training is expected to reach as many as 720 people and aims to provide scrutineers with an overview of the electoral process and their role in it so that any complaints raised during polling and counting are based on an understanding of those processes.
UNDP will also facilitate small group and one-on-one training discussions with Bougainville’s 19 Returning Officers, focusing on the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission´s (OBEC) process for handling complaints during the polling and counting periods. The training aims to ensure that complaints about elections are resolved in a consistent, transparent, and timely manner.
The media training will target local media houses. The main objective of the training is to equip journalists with the basic knowledge and professional skills that will enable them to cover election processes in a fair, balanced, and non-partisan way and through them enable citizens to become well-informed and active participants in the political decision processes.
“Election stakeholders, such as Scrutineers, Returning Officers, and Media, are a key component of the wider election process. By ensuring their understanding of their role and the electoral procedures, we are promoting credible elections,” said Ray Kennedy, UNDP´s electoral support team leader.
OBEC´s acting Commissioner, George Manu, stated that “These elections are of fundamental importance to Bougainville. OBEC welcomes the UN´s support in these key components of a democratic election.”
Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, said that “The UN is working closely with OBEC. This training will assist to ensure free and transparent elections.”
UNDP has tailored its election support following a request of the Government of PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for a UN electoral assistance project to strengthen local capacity in the lead up to the 2015 elections.