The State Department, through its office of the U.S. – Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), is pleased to announce $1.5 million in funding to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to support open governance and political participation in the Middle East and North Africa. The initiative, launched under the auspices of the G-8 Deauville Partnership, will support the governments of Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia as they design and implement, together with their citizens and civil society organizations, policies that increase government transparency and accountability. Other donors will fund the OECD project in Egypt. The MEPI-OECD initiative will support the Deauville Partnership’s efforts to attract investment, foster local economic development and job creation, and combat corruption in these countries. This project will also help these countries make reforms to be eligible for membership in the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
The MEPI-OECD project will focus on the four criteria of eligibility identified by the Open Government Partnership: fiscal transparency; access to information; disclosures related to senior public officials; and citizens’ engagement. Specific activities include:
· Assisting the governments of Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia in reviewing and assessing institutions, policies, and practices supporting the implementation of Open Government principles at both central and local levels, as well as improving coordination between government and national civil society.
· Helping to increase women’s participation in policy making as well as reaching out to other underrepresented groups and potential change-makers.
· Supporting the political and economic reforms that respond to urgent needs of the Deauville Partnership countries to adopt practices and politics in line with the standards and principles of the OECD.
As Secretary Clinton has said, “the real choice is between reform and unrest” with reform being the only realistic path toward inclusive economic growth. With the OECD and other partners, the United States is strongly committed to assisting transitioning countries in advancing economic and political reforms necessary to generate growth and stability across the region.