The Local Council Elections budget basket which receives contributions from the Government of Sierra Leone and its development partners, now stands at US$21.3million.
Contributing partners to this fund which is managed by UNDP include; the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 5.5million pounds Sterling; the European Commission, 3.7million Euro; Irish Aid, 1million Euro (with an additional 1million Euro pledged); the Norwegian Government US$500,000; and a carryover of unspent contribution from 2007 by the Japanese Government, of US$700,000 towards the acquisition of a warehouse for the National Electoral Commission (NEC). The Government of Sierra Leone contribution to the total budget is in the amount of US$3,293,517, managed directly by the NEC.
The Steering Committee meeting of the Donor Basket Project in support of the 2008 Local Council elections affirmed that preparations for the elections are on track. The partners formally endorsed two key documents: the Local Council Elections Support document and the related Memorandum of Understanding between DFID, the EC, Irish Aid, Japan, Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The stakeholder meeting, which was chaired by the Chairperson of the NEC- Dr Christiana Thorpe was attended by representatives of the Government of Sierra Leone, donor partners, the UN Executive Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Michael v. der Schulenburg, the acting UNDP Resident Representative, the UNDP Country Director, NEC officials and civil society.
Speaking at the meeting, the acting UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Samuel Nyambi, stated, “the endorsement by our donor partners of these two documents signifies the continued commitment of the international community to the success of the Local Council Elections, democracy, peace and stability of Sierra Leone.”
The Chairperson of NEC also affirmed that, “steady progress is being made in the electoral process. I am happy to report that we are on track for delivering the elections on time and for polling to take place on 5 July.”
The Local Council Elections, which are aimed at deepening participation of citizens in decision-making and strengthening service delivery at local levels in Sierra Leone, are the first elections to follow the successful conduct of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in 2007. The planning for the Local Council Elections began at the end of 2007 and has progressed well, with the full engagement of development partners on the national and international front.