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USAID Awards Center for Legislative Development at UAlbany $9.3 Million to Bolster Government Reform in Lebanon
The Center for Legislative Development is providing training on furthering government performance through technical assistance to municipalities, regional governments, executive agencies, and the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities.
ALBANY, N.Y. (July 3, 2009) -- The University at Albany's Center for Legislative Development (CLD), the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities of Lebanon, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have signed a three-year, $9.3-million government reform training initiative targeting major municipalities. The program is funded by USAID.
Through the program, CLD will provide training on furthering government productivity and performance through specialized technical assistance to municipalities, regional governments, executive agencies, and the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities. CLD will also develop an advanced government performance model to be implemented across all departments in several of the largest municipalities that collectively serve nearly 60 percent of the Lebanese population.
The “Assistance to Sustain Local Democratic Practices” program will immediately address several key challenges currently facing local government posed by municipal elections slated for 2010, including the need for the training of newly-elected mayors. The program will also work to promote improved relations between citizens and representative institutions and develop specific strategies to facilitate a smooth transition to the newly-elected councils.
The Center for Legislative Development has been active in Lebanon since 1994, when it implemented a series of initiatives to improve democratic practices and the quality of governance. Since 2004, CLD has received grants totaling $29 million from USAID to support its Municipal Governance Assistance Program, which has provided technical assistance to more than 800 local and regional government institutions throughout Lebanon. Ongoing CLD efforts have made it possible for Lebanese institutions to become more effective, democratic, and responsive through activities to modernize and reengineer work processes; to standardize, automate, and institutionalize financial and administrative procedures; to increase municipal revenues through tax and fee laws; and to broaden citizen access to government through the use of the Internet and technology.
"For 40 years The Center for Legislative Development has endeavored to strengthen democratic development around the world," said University at Albany President George M. Philip. "Their continued support from USAID is testament to the Center's success in advancing accountable government in Lebanon."
The Center for Legislative Development has been active in Lebanon since 1994, when it implemented a series of initiatives to improve democratic practices and the quality of governance.
"We are pleased that USAID has renewed its commitment to CLD's programs and, ultimately, to the people and institutions of Lebanon," said CLD Director Nan Carroll. "The funding supports the Center's philosophy that governmental agencies develop the internal capacity to diagnose needs and implement strategies for meeting them."
"Despite ongoing national and regional conflicts, the upcoming municipal elections in Lebanon will be the third consecutive since 1998 marking a significant continuation of local democratic practices," said Regional CLD Director Mahmoud Batlouni. "The USAID support and CLD assistance through this program both prior to and following the elections is particularly vital to municipal continuity and to ensuring a balanced transition between councils."
"The current assistance, designed to strengthen local democratic practices, complements the achievements of previous CLD and USAID programs targeting municipalities, unions, governorates, districts and the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities," said USAID Mission Director in Lebanon Denise Herbol.
The Center for Legislative Development's programs are carried out through UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. The faculty and staff associated with CLD include specialists in public administration, public policy, economics, law, decision-making, political science, and systems and information sciences. CLD programs offer extensive contact with scholars, practitioners, and associations involved in governance.
"We're grateful for USAID's continued support of the Center for Legislative Development's work in Lebanon," said Rockefeller College Dean Jeffrey D. Straussman. "CLD's project not only provides value to Lebanon, it also enhances the University’s efforts to enrich teaching and scholarship with a wider global perspective."
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