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On Annan's Last Days at Helm of UN, Freedom House Releases Analysis of UN Democracy Fund
As Kofi Annan prepares to step down as UN Secretary General, Freedom House today released an analysis of the first round of grants by the UN Democracy Fund, a notable symbol of Mr. Annan's endeavors to include the promotion of democracy within the mission of the United Nations.
Freedom House analyzed the first set of UNDEF grant recipients, examining the types of organizations receiving funds, the beneficiary countries or regions, and the types of projects being funded. On the grounds that assistance should be prioritized towards those with greatest needs, Freedom House evaluated beneficiary countries according to the Free, Partly, Free, and Not Free rankings used in the organization’s 2006 survey of political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World.
“We applaud the establishment of UNDEF, arguably the most visible sign of the UN’s commitment to promoting democracy worldwide, and are glad to see that the majority of grants were awarded to civil society organizations,” said Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House. “However, the fund marks a first attempt by the UN to provide direct support to civil society organizations that focus on democratic reform, and only time will illustrate whether it will fund projects that are not supported by host governments,” she added.
UNDEF was established in June 2005, and began disbursing funds in August 2006. Out of 1,300 submitted proposals, 125 projects were selected totaling $36 million; grant awards ranged between $50,000 and $500,000. The UNDEF is funded largely by direct contributions from democratic governments, with the largest donors including the United States, India, and Australia.
Freedom House is an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.