The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be assisting the Central African Republic in the organization of a constitutional referendum, as well as parliamentary and presidential elections next year. The elections are seen as a crucial step in the country’s return to peace and development, following decades of conflict and political instability. At the beginning of December, the UN Secretary-General called for the organization of elections by August 2015.
UNDP will be in charge of coordinating the international community’s support. It will implement a programme to register, mobilize and educate voters, support the logistics of the ballots, and build the capacities of the Autorité nationale des élections, the body in charge of organizing the vote. The programme’s total budget is USD 44 million and more than half of it is financed by the European Union. UNDP will be contributing USD 2 million. “This is a highly significant event for the consolidation of democracy and a return to peace,” said Aurélien Agbénonci, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bangui.
One of the key aspects of the programme will be to mobilize media, and specifically women, many of which are heads of households, as well as youths and marginalized or minority groups. One year ago, Bangui was seized by a Christian militia, called anti-Balaka, displacing half a million people and killing throngs of civilians. More than 850,000 people are still uprooted and more than 2.5 million are in need of humanitarian support.
A transitional government is now in place, supported by a UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) established in September 2014.