Over 100 international observers to witness PNG Elections

May 15, 2017

International Observers coordinated by UNDP at a polling booth in Bougainville during the 2015 elections. CREDIT: UNDP

Port Moresby, 15 May 2017The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting the 2017 national election in Papua New Guinea (PNG) by coordinating and supporting over 100 international electoral observers.

Responding to a request from the PNG Electoral Commissioner, UNDP will coordinate international electoral observers from more than 12 groups including The Commonwealth, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Australian National University, and the Australian High Commission and other diplomatic missions.

Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, welcomed the invitation by the PNG Electoral Commission to provide support to the election: “We’re delighted to be able to coordinate the presence of international election observers across the country to help ensure free and fair elections.

“These observers play a critical role in helping promote and protect the civil and political rights of participants in elections. They will help monitor things like freedom of movement and their presence will help to deter  manipulation as well as strengthen reporting of such problems if they do occur,” Mr Trivedy said.

UNDP will compile and distribute background information, organise briefings and training before the observers deploy, liaise with relevant authorities to make sure international observers get access to polling stations, facilitate their information requests, provide logistical support to the observers, and debrief them after the election.

Following the elections, observer groups will provide reports and recommendations to the Electoral Commission

which could contribute to changes and improvements in national law and practice to improve the quality of future elections.

UNDP is the largest provider of electoral assistance in the UN system. It has been involved in supporting the electoral cycle in more than 58 countries and most recently in Papua New Guinea in Bougainville’s 2015 General Elections.

“The establishment of a strong and effective coordination mechanism for international observers is vital to build trust in the democratic process and enhance the legitimacy of the governments that emerge from elections, “ Mr Trivedy said.

“We hope our work will be an important contribution to the work of the Papua New Guinean authorities in conducting the 2017 national elections.”

In accordance with UN policy on electoral assistance, UNDP is not observing the elections and will not issue any statement on the elections or involve itself in the substance of any of the international observers’ work or statements.

Contact information

Alice Plate, UNDP Communications Specialist, +675 7332 4828, alice.plate@undp.org