Afghan election funding shortfall almost filled, UN mission reports

8 September 2005

After warning at the beginning of last month that a funding shortfall could hamper essential preparatory work for Afghanistan’s parliamentary and provincial elections on 18 September, the United Nations mission reported today that nearly all the requested $149 million was now in hand or committed.

The remaining $4.6 million shortfall will not jeopardize the elections, but “clearly, with the election just 10 days away, we’re hoping to see the remaining funding gap closed very quickly,” UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Kabul, the capital.

“At this time what we are mainly talking about is the need to [promptly] pay bills and settle accounts,” he said. “I think I have made it clear all along that we do expect the full amount to appear.

“Obviously when you are running such a vast project as a nationwide election, and where you also have separate elections in every province as well as the parliamentary one, then clearly you want to able to pay your bills early on,” he added.

When he raised the alarm on 1 August, there was a $31 million shortfall. Since then more funding began to arrive, most recently, an $11 million contribution from the European Commission and $5 million from Japan.

Mr. Edwards gave the current funding breakdown as $115.7 million received and committed, $23.7 million pledged, and $14.9 million carried over from last year.


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