The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon and said it is pleased to announce that at the third project board meeting to support the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections, a new agreement was signed to enable enhanced contributions to Afghanistan’s electoral budget.
According to the statement, donors pledged to fund an additional $57 million to the elections budget, in addition to pledging ongoing assistance to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).
“This new agreement will allow the organization of elections to move forward to implementation,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
“The United Nations has pledged the international community’s support as a partner throughout Afghanistan’s electoral preparations.”
According to preliminary data, more than 8.9 million Afghans, including more than three million women, have registered to vote in this year’s parliamentary and district council elections, and for the 2019 presidential elections.
“While we continue to support the progress made so far, we are following developments closely, including the work to complete the central database of registered voters and the final list of candidates, both of which are necessary for holding credible elections,” said Yamamoto.
UNAMA said under Resolution 2405 (2018), the Security Council requested UNAMA support Afghan authorities in the organization of elections, and to strengthen the integrity, sustainability and inclusiveness of the electoral process. “UNAMA remains committed to working with Afghan institutions as they implement reforms to enhance transparency and build trust in Afghanistan’s democratic processes, including by promoting the participation of women as voters and as candidates,” the statement read.
“We look forward to the thorough verification of registered voters and the willingness on the part of everybody involved to address any irregularities if and when they occur,” said Yamamoto.
“The IEC and the ECC have demonstrated that they can respond to constructive criticism but they need the support of all stakeholders.”
Stressing progress by the IEC in reaching out to political actors, Yamamoto called for political actors to play a responsible role to make elections inclusive and credible.
“All Afghans have a stake in successful elections, and it is therefore crucial for all Afghans to exercise their civic duty and participate in Afghanistan’s democratic processes,” he said.
The third Project Board meeting follows the first and second meetings on 4 October 2017 and 30 December 2017, respectively, where UNAMA, along with the IEC and the ECC, signed project documents providing the legal and financial framework allowing the UN and donors to continue to support and strengthen Afghanistan’s electoral institutions and operations.
Parliamentary and district council elections are scheduled for October 20 this year.