Port Vila, Vanuatu — The Government of New Zealand is providing an extra contribution of almost USD1.1 million to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project (VEEP) to support Vanuatu in implementing an unprecedented country-wide Civil and Voter Registration.
The registration campaign will be launched this Friday, 21 June in Luganville, Vanuatu’s second largest town, following a comprehensive field training of civil and voter registration staff earlier in the week. The registration process is planned to take place over six months and aims to register more than 160,000 citizens. During this period many Ni-Vanuatu citizens will receive their first ever national ID card and will be included in the Voter Registry.
Having a National Identification (ID) Card will improve access to public and private services for citizens for example health care, welfare and education services. The ID cards will also make it easier to open a bank account and have access to basic financial services such as money transfer services.
“The UNDP VEEP project is currently providing technical assistance to the electoral authorities in different areas and one of the key objectives of the project is enhancing the credibility and accuracy of the voter registry,” said VEEP Project Manager and Technical Adviser, Anne-Sofie Gerhard.
“Scaling up the national ID card process and joint operations with the Civil Registry and Vital Statistics department instead of having a separate process only for the Voter Registry will save money and foster synergies between different government entities.
She added, “In order to implement nationwide civil and voter registration, additional funds were needed for VEEP. When UNDP approached our project donor we immensely appreciated the prompt and enthusiastic support of the Government of New Zealand with the concept.”
New Zealand’s High Commissioner, Jonathan Schwass said, “New Zealand has been working with the United Nations Development Programme and the Vanuatu Electoral Office since 2018, to strengthen the capacity of the electoral authorities and improve the accuracy and integrity of the voter registry.”
“We have recently committed a further USD1.07 million (NZD 1.6 million) towards a combined Civil and Voter Registration exercise, which will kick off in Luganville and Sanma Province next week.”
VEEP is a project run by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji through a small technical team based in Port Vila, with the long-term objective of contributing to democratic development in Vanuatu, particularly by strengthening the capacities of the Vanuatu Electoral Office, which is the operational arm of the Electoral Commission.
For additional information, please contact Maurizio Cacucci, Public Outreach Coordinator, Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org