Japan to Provide Solar Lamps for Polling Stations in Myanmar’s elections through UNDP

Jun 30, 2015

The Ambassador of Japan to Myanmar, His Excellency Mr. Tateshi Higuchi, and Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Toily Kurbanov signed a USD $ 895,000 (Y 111,000,000) funding agreement in support of Myanmar’s elections. Photo:Soe Pyae Sone Maung/UNDP

[Nay Pyi Taw – 30th June 2015] The Ambassador of Japan to Myanmar, His Excellency Mr. Tateshi Higuchi, and Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Toily Kurbanov, today signed a USD $ 895,000 (Y 111,000,000) funding agreement in support of Myanmar’s elections.

The partnership between UNDP and Japan will see the distribution of over 25,000 solar lamps to polling stations across the country which do not have secure and consistent access to electricity - a contribution which will ensure that people working in polling stations are able to count votes into the hours of darkness on Election Day.

“On Election Day, when the voting is over and it is dark outside, the staff working in the polling stations will have to stay there and count people’s votes- to do so they will need some light to see by,” says Director General U Tin Tun of Myanmar’s Union Election Commission, which is tasked with managing this year’s elections. “By putting solar lamps in polling stations we will be better able to ensure that votes are counted accurately.”

The Union Election Commission estimates more than half of the 45,000 public and community buildings which will be used as polling stations for the elections, do not have constant electricity supplies.

 “The elections in November will be a landmark in the country’s ongoing democratic transition, and every detail will count when it comes to ensuring their credibility and integrity”, noted H.E. Ambassador Mr. Tateshi Higuchi. He affirmed the bilateral partnership between Japan and the Union of the Republic of Myanmar, noting that this is part of Japan’s broader support to Myanmar’s transition towards democracy and development.

This November will be the first time in 25 years that the majority of the voting population take part in an election that is contested between so many parties. It is the first time that international agencies have been welcomed as partners in, and observers of, the elections. An elections process that shows improvements against previous elections, and a good level of credibility, will be taken by many as an indicator of Myanmar’s progress.

 “Making sure that the votes can be collected properly, counted accurately, and handled carefully is a necessary step towards making sure that the election process is smooth. In this way something as simple as a lamp can make the difference in a well-run election,” said Toily Kurbanov at the signing ceremony, which took place at the Union Election Commission in Nay Pyi Taw.

 “We are thankful for the support of our international partners, including UNDP and Japan, in achieving our vision to hold free, fair and credible elections, in order to develop a truly democratic nation,” said Chairman of the Union Election Commission, U Tin Aye.

The distribution of solar lamps is part of a wider UNDP project in support of peaceful and tranquil elections, in partnership with the Union Election Commission.

Contact information

Shobhna Decloitre
Communications Specialist
UNDP Myanmar
shobhna.decloitre@undp.org

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