Addis Ababa July 4/2019 Ireland has extended financial support worth 700,000 Euros, which is equivalent to 23 million birr, to support the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to run the 2020 national elections.
The support NEBE will be channeled through UNDP’s Programme, “Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening (SEEDS)”, it was indicated.
The SEED project will target key areas including capacity building to deliver on NEBE’s mandate, build staff capacities to lead an electoral processes and particularly in applying any newly adopted technologies.
Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Sonja Hyland and Turhan Saleh, UNDP Resident Representative has signed the support agreement in Addis Ababa today.
During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Hyland said the support is part of the Irish government’s commitment in strengthening Ethiopia’s democratic elections.
“We wanted to initiate this signing in these relationships because this is an extremely important time for Ethiopia. In the democratic cycle we have just really a year now more or less until the 2020 election,” Ambassador Hyland stated.
Mentioning that NEBE has been entrusted with a lot of complex work to do with regard to preparations for the upcoming election, she noted “but we know that NEBE is more than up to the challenge.”
“This support to NEBE is part of the wider support by Ireland to the reform agenda in Ethiopia,” the Ambassador added.
UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia, Turhan Saleh said the support will be important to empower NEBE for the upcoming election.
He added that UNDP will support NEBE through technical, advisory, capacity building, voter and civic education, and operational planning of the election.
“IT infrastructure, communication is going to be important information technology as well and that is an area that we are looking into how the IT infrastructure of the Board can be built up,” Saleh pointed out.
He added that there is a lot of information that has to be shared besides provision of training for large number of election bodies.
NEBE Board Member, Bizuwork Ketete appreciated the support as helpful to the electoral board’s move towards democratization process.
According to her, the main areas of support include capacity development at various levels, infrastructure, training systems and mechanisms as well as early warning on potential conflict related to election.
The electoral board has a lot to do, Bizuwork said, adding that “hopefully the early warning system for conflict will help us and work well and that will be one area of concern and importance that we need to be on top of,” she explained.