(Left to right): UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative Turhan Saleh, UNDP Africa Director Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, Foriegn Minister of Canada Honorable François-Philippe Champagne and NEBE  Board members Bizuwork Ketete and Dr Aberra Degefa

The Government of Canada has signed a declaration of partnership with UNDP to provide one million Canadian dollars for the multi-partner Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening (SEEDS) project.

The declaration of partnership was signed by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, and Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa, in the presence of National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) members, Ms. Bizuwork Ketete and Dr. Aberra Degefa.

The SEEDS project seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the NEBE to efficiently deliver on its mandate to undertake inclusive, transparent and credible elections. The project will also support NEBE in conducting public outreach and external communication activities to identify, manage and respond to electoral violence.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa said, “This signing ceremony is happening on the sidelines of the African Union Summit that is organized under the theme ‘Silencing the Guns’ and I believe nothing silences the guns more than free and credible elections”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, François-Philippe Champagne, stated that “free, fair and inclusive elections are the embodiment of democratic principles. Through the SEEDS partnership, the Government of Canada is pleased to support Ethiopia’s efforts to implement reforms and strengthen its democratic institutions.”

Inclusion, the role of women in building a democratic nation, cultivating trust, information sharing, and educating and engaging people about the election process, were some of the topics discussed at the signing ceremony.

UNDP brings extensive global experience on elections, on average, annually providing electoral assistance to about 60 countries, including in fragile and conflict affected settings. From the UN side, UNDP is joined by IOM, OHCHR, UNESCO and UN Women.         

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