UN support to the current electoral cycle (2018-2021) to assist Somalia with the preparations for universal elections is mandated by the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR 2358 (2017) and 2408 (2018), in line with the recommendations of the UN Needs Assessment Mission (NAM), and aligned with the NIEC Strategic Plan and the FGS Roadmap for Inclusive Politics. As the country has not had any universal federal elections since 1969 and the challenges are enormous, donor support for universal elections, financed through the UNDP-managed basket fund, is envisaged in a phased approach, each with their own milestones and targets:
• Phase 1: development of electoral building blocks, including Electoral Law and NIEC’s institutional capacity
• Phase 2: Voter registration
• Phase 3: Elections
The UN Electoral Support Programme is structured in a way to ensure flexibility and will be focused on the development of the institutions and frameworks necessary for a successful electoral process. It is expected that there will be continued intermittent UN Needs Assessment Missions deployed under the auspices of the UN Electoral Assistance Division in the intervening period, to also offer an assessment of progress towards universal elections.
Against this backdrop, it is essential for the UN Electoral Support Programme to maintain in 2019 the current focus. Assistance from international partners will be essential to support the government of Somalia with the preparations for nationwide elections; not only in terms of political support but also ongoing support to the institutional capacity development of the NIEC and for electoral operations.
The United Nations has been providing electoral assistance to the Federal Republic of Somalia since 2014 through the UN Integrated Electoral Support Group (IESG) comprising the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia.
Building on the past support, the UN Electoral Support Programme aims to support the key stakeholders in developing institutional, administrative and staff capacities, improving operations, and establishing sustainable organizational frameworks that will facilitate universal elections. By providing technical assistance for capacity development and overall support to accommodate operating costs, UN Electoral Support Programme aims to assist the NIEC to develop its ability to plan, prepare, organize and conduct the upcoming elections.