Honaira, Solomon Islands – The United Nations (UN) will facilitate the coordination of international election observers during the 2010 National Parliament Election in Solomon Islands. For that purpose an Electoral Observation Coordination Team (EOCT) has recently arrived and started their work in Honiara.

Upon request from the Government of Solomon Islands, the UN has agreed to provide technical assistance, including coordination of international electoral observers. UNDP has undertaken the overall formulation of the project, and will also be responsible for the implementation. A range of development partners are providing financial support to the mission.

The UN considers free and fair elections to be the basis of a healthy democracy, and vital to ensure political stability and a political climate fostering sustainable human development. The establishment of a strong and effective coordination mechanism for international observers is to be an important contribution to the work of the Solomon Islands authorities in conducting the 2010 national elections.

UN Resident Coordinator Knut Ostby today commented that he was “very pleased to note the recent arrival of the 3 member EOCT in Honiara to coordinate the international observers who will be present during the forthcoming national elections in Solomon Islands. The EOCT presence is in response to the Government of Solomon Islands’ request to the UN for assistance in coordinating international observers to the 2010 National Elections.  The EOCT will be working closely with the Election authorities in Solomon Islands and other stakeholders to ensure the international observers are provided with all the assistance required to fulfill their roles and responsibilities during this important democratic process in Solomon Islands.”

The mandate of the EOCT includes: providing deployment for international election observers, organizing briefings and training before deployment for the observers, liaising with relevant authorities to make sure international observers get access to polling stations, providing logistical support to the observers and debriefing the observers after the election.

The EOCT is not an observation mission, and will thus not make any public statement on the conduct or outcome of the elections.  It will, however, prepare a report on its findings with recommendations that could be provided to relevant electoral officials in order to improve the framework and conditions for future elections.

The Governor General of Solomon Islands has announced that the National Election will take place on 4 August.

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