The United States and the Republic of Tunisia hosted the G-8 Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative’s Sub-ministerial meeting at the U.S. Department of State on November 1-2. Over 100 senior government officials, civil society activists, and private sector representatives from the G-8 and BMENA countries met to discuss developments and reform efforts in this year’s BMENA themes: women’s empowerment, economic governance and entrepreneurship, and freedom of expression and association. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and the Tunisian Secretary of State for American and Asian Affairs Mr. Hédi Ben Abbes opened the November 2 session.
The sub-ministerial meeting developed plans of action and reform goals for the 9th BMENA Forum for the Future, the culminating annual event of the BMENA Initiative. The Forum for the Future will be held in Tunis, Tunisia, December 12-13, and Secretary Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation. This is the first year that government, civil society, and private sector representatives have actively participated in all BMENA events as equals, including the Sub-Ministerial meeting, which reflects the goals of the U.S. and Tunisian co-chairs to reinvigorate BMENA to foster meaningful government-citizen dialogue and generate reform-oriented discussions.
Since 2004, the BMENA Initiative and the Forum for the Future have provided a multi-lateral platform to support reform voices in the region. The initiative offers opportunities for governments and civil society organizations to engage in collaborative dialogue on political, economic, and social issues. For more information about the BMENA initiative and the Forum for the Future, please visit www.forumforfuture.org or contact Emily Fischer at telephone (202) 776-8637 or by email: FischerEA@state.gov.