UNDP is the major provider of technical electoral assistance on behalf of the UN system, whose mandate is to assist Member States, upon their request, in their efforts to strengthen their institutional capacities to organize credible democratic elections.
As such, UNDP provided assistance to 59 Member States in the period from 2013-2015, engaging with Member States, among others, on long-term capacity development, including the strengthening of capacities of electoral management bodies and other relevant stakeholders such as women’s organizations.
UNDP only undertakes electoral assistance after a specific request has been received from an appropriate national authority and a needs assessment undertaken.
In March 2015, the Government of Zimbabwe requested the UN to provide capacity building support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in preparation for the 2018 elections. On the basis of a Needs Assessment Mission, which met with a large variety of electoral stakeholders including political parties, media, CSO, a project document was developed jointly with ZEC for the UN to provide support in the areas of voter registration, voter education, stakeholder engagement and institutional capacity strengthening. UN support to ZEC is provided within the framework of the project: “Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Capacity Building Project (ZIM-ECO)” that was signed between the Government of Zimbabwe, ZEC and UNDP in July 2016.
The project focuses on medium and long-term institutional goals, with a specific emphasis on providing technical assistance to ZEC on developing a new voter registration system; capacitating ZEC, especially its Information Services and Voter Registration departments/teams; embarking on a robust voter education campaign; reaching out to electoral stakeholders and building mutual trust in the electoral process, and contributing to making the electoral process sustainable.
UNDP support is subject to availability of adequate financial resources from development partners. To date, the project has received support from the Delegation of the European Union to Zimbabwe.
The UN’s role, through the project ZIM-ECO, is limited to providing technical assistance and capacity building support to ZEC in the areas identified above, based on UNDP’s extensive experience and comparative advantage across the world, to promote a transparent and inclusive electoral process in line with the national electoral legal framework and the country’s international electoral commitments. As per its practice, the UN does not engage in any other electoral matters that are not included in the current project document.
All UNDP projects are part of the overall Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF) programme, as agreed with the Government of Zimbabwe, and are aligned with national development priorities stated in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).