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Sweden and Denmark contribute US$2 million to UNDP’s Strengthening Electoral Processes in Uganda (SEPU) project

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Press statement UNDP Sweden Denmark Electoral support

Kampala – Wednesday, 28 October 2020The Swedish Government and the Danish Government have committed $2 million (UGX 7.4 billion) to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Strengthening Electoral Processes in Uganda (SEPU) project. Both the Swedish and Danish Governments will each contribute a total of $1 million (UGX 3.7 billion) to the three-year project 2020-2022.

UNDP is working with the UN Women, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in implementing the SEPU project in close collaboration and coordination with the UN Resident Coordinator’s office. The total budget of SEPU is $10.5 million (approximately UGX 39 billion).

Both UNDP, Sweden and Denmark place great importance on continued democratic development in Uganda.

Elections are the means through which people choose their representatives in a democratic process, and therefore, a powerful tool in creating an environment where people can have their voices heard. These ideals are a critical element of the United Nations’ Charter and mandate as well as UNDP’s work in promoting democratic governance.

A strategic goal of the Embassy of Sweden is to support Uganda’s own efforts towards strengthened democracy, free and fair elections, and increased respect for human rights. Peaceful, transparent, and inclusive elections, with an increased participation of women and youth, is crucial for Uganda’s sustainable development.

“Through supporting the UNDP’s ‘Strengthening Electoral Processes in Uganda” project, Sweden is able to assist and support Ugandan institutions, the civil society and political parties in ensuring fair, open and peaceful elections in 2021,” the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Per Lindgärde said during the signing ceremony for the support.

He added: “This support is part of Sweden’s wider foreign policy initiative termed as the ‘Drive for Democracy’, where we bolster democratic processes by supporting electoral authorities and strengthen political systems and the rule of law around the world. This contribution is aligned with our development strategy in Uganda and complements the work of the Government of Uganda and our programs with other partners involved in the areas of human rights, democracy, rule of law and gender equality. We hope that this program shall continue to help to further strengthen democratic governance in Uganda and empower citizens to carry out their civic duty.”

Through its support to Uganda, Denmark is active in promoting a rights-based approach to inclusion and accountability. This requires supporting key state institutions on democracy and accountability as well as civil society, bringing them together in constructive and responsive partnerships to enhance the rule of law, transparency, democratic space, and respect for human rights. The overarching justification for the Danish support to Uganda is the necessity to promote inclusive and sustainable economic and political development. This is a prerequisite for safeguarding Uganda as a stable and peaceful country on its way to middle-income status.

Through its support to the SEPU Project and the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), Denmark is able to assist Ugandan institutions and civil society organisations in ensuring fair, open and peaceful elections in 2021. “We believe in strengthened democratic processes, whereby rule of law, protection and observance of human rights, as well as citizen inclusion are key elements,” said the Danish Ambassador to Uganda H.E Nicolaj H. Petersen.  He added, “the aim is to contribute to Uganda’s Vision 2040, which emphasises that good governance and respect for human rights are fundamental principles at the core of the nation’s development.

On her part, UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Elsie Attafuah, commended the Swedish and Danish Governments for the partnership and the exceptional leadership of the Excellencies Per Lindgärde and Nicolaj Petersen in promoting democratic governance. She further applauded both governments for the dedication illustrated, by their contribution to the SEPU project basket fund modality, in this crucial period in the history of Uganda.

She noted that SEPU project is part of UNDP’s global mandate to strengthen democracy and governance processes in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 16 which promotes peace, justice and strengthened institutional capacity. The project will also foster the equal participation and empowerment of women in the electoral process, which is aligned with Goal 5 on gender equality.

“UNDP’s electoral support is informed by the understanding that elections are critical building blocks for consolidating democracy, nurturing peace, stability and sustainable development,” she said. “This project will seek to build the capacity of key electoral institutions, enhance electoral transparency and promote dialogue to promote public and stakeholder confidence in the electoral process.”

She also noted that, “The ongoing campaigns including through digital approaches – to curb the further spread of coronavirus- brings in a relatively new approach to Uganda’s electoral process and in the world at large. It’s within the interest of every Ugandan citizen and all stakeholders to ensure that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put forward by the Government are respected during the electoral process given the potential health and socio-economic impacts on national development processes and so we do not erode major development gains”.

Ms. Attafuah commended the continued commitment of the Governments of Sweden and Denmark to strengthening democratic governance in Uganda and also for the trust placed in UNDP by national institutions and other partners as a collective effort to foster a resilient democracy in Uganda. She also paid special tribute to the Government of Uganda for the ongoing partnership with the UN on the sustainable development agenda including a range of efforts to strengthen rule of law and democratic governance in Uganda.

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