KABUL – At the invitation of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), the United Nations is currently conducting the second phase of an Electoral Needs Assessment Mission (NAM). The IEC requested that in view of the large-scale preparations required for elections “it would be valuable if the United Nations Needs Assessment Mission could be undertaken as soon as possible.”
The purpose of the Needs Assessment Mission is to assess the electoral environment and make recommendations on the nature of future UN support to the elections, which will be Afghan managed and Afghan led.
A four-person team arrived in Kabul for a second visit of ten days on 18 January. The mission is meeting with diverse electoral stakeholders.
Under the UN Security Council Resolution 2041 endorsed on 22 March 2012 on Afghanistan, UNAMA is expected to play a supporting role and provide assistance to the relevant Afghan authorities and institutions, at their request.
· The UN Security Council Resolution 2041  specifies that “UNAMA and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, within their mandate and guided by the principle of reinforcing Afghan sovereignty, leadership and ownership, will continue to lead and coordinate the international civilian efforts, in accordance with the London and Kabul Conference Communiqués and the Bonn Conference Conclusions”. It also calls on them to provide support, at the request of the Afghan authorities, the organization of future Afghan elections, as well as to strengthen, in support of the Government of Afghanistan’s efforts, the sustainability, integrity and inclusiveness of the electoral process, as agreed at the London, Kabul and Bonn Conferences, and provide capacity building and technical assistance to the Afghan institutions involved in this process”.
· In addition the Resolution “Underscores the importance of a sustainable democratic development in Afghanistan with all Afghan institutions acting within their clearly defined areas of competence, in accordance with the relevant laws and the Afghan Constitution.” It welcomes, in this regard, the commitment of the Government of Afghanistan at the Kabul Conference, reaffirmed at the Bonn Conference, to deliver further improvements to the electoral process, including addressing the sustainability of the electoral process, and, taking into account the commitments by the international community and the Afghan Government made at the London, Kabul and Bonn Conferences. The Resolution “reaffirms UNAMA’s supporting role, at the request of the Afghan Government, in the realization of these commitments, and requests that, upon the request of the Government of Afghanistan, UNAMA provide assistance to the relevant Afghan institutions to support the integrity of the electoral process; and further calls upon members of the international community to provide assistance as appropriate”. (PR)