The Maldives has taken progressive steps towards establishing a democratic and just society based on human rights and equality. The first ever multi-party Presidential elections were held in 2008, bringing in the first democratically elected government. The formation of the first fully elected parliament and local governments in islands and atolls are also major milestones in the democratic reform process. However, recent events created uncertainty in the country’s political arena, which has sometimes led to dramatic consequences with an unexpected change of government in early 2012. The country has now turned its attention to the second Presidential election under the new constitution to be held at the end of 2013. The recurring changes and pressures are accompanied by tensions which must be managed in order to maintain stability, safeguard rights, promote peaceful coexistence and allow development to proceed.
Although the constitution of 2008 and institutions created at the time have endured, these new institutions and the people of Maldives need the support of its international partners to continue on its recovery and march towards democracy and development. Measures are needed to address the underlying causes of the series of crises that the country has experienced in its short democratic life and mitigate such instances in the future. There is enormous pressure on fledgling institutions at local and national levels. The institutions need support to perform their mandated functions in a transparent and accountable way, and to play potentially new roles in light of new challenges. Long-term, multi-sector support in an integrated manner is necessary to help strengthen capacities of both the state and civil society, promote and develop participatory democratic processes, the political arena and facilitate dialogue for a cohesive society.
The new Integrated Governance Programme (IGP), developed by UNDP Maldives together with national partners in 2012, seeks to directly respond to the need for a more resilient and peaceful society. IGP support focuses on the development of transparent and accountable governance institutions, including justice sector institutions; improved capacity for dialogue, information exchange and early warning to help mitigate, de-escalate and proactively address tensions within and between communities.
The programme seeks to achieve the following three coordinated programme results:
Result 1: National and local level institutional capacities strengthened to ensure transparency and accountability and for supporting democratic consolidation and processes.
Result 2: Equitable access to justice increased and rule of law strengthened through support to the justice and security sector and promotion of human rights.
Result 3: Enabling environment created and strengthened for enhanced social cohesion through inclusive and participatory decision making and development.