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USAID Awards $2M to University at Albany's Center for Legislative Development

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 10, 2007) -- The Center for Legislative Development (CLD) at the University at Albany has been awarded $2 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to continue its efforts to strengthen municipal institutions in Lebanon and increase their effectiveness in support of democracy. 

CLD began this phase of its work in Lebanon in 2004 when it started the Municipal Governance Assistance Program, a comprehensive reform initiative focused on strengthening municipal administrative and financial capacities, curbing the spread of corruption, expanding the municipal revenue base, and encouraging development of a positive legal framework for local government.

"We are greatly honored by the investment that USAID has taken by supporting the Center for Legislative Development's efforts to strengthen democracy in Lebanon," said UAlbany Officer in Charge and Provost Susan Herbst. "I want to commend CLD Director Nan Carroll, Country Director Mahmoud Batlouni and all the staff of the Center, who have designed a program that has assisted in the development of a successful and accountable government in Lebanon."

"We appreciate that USAID has extended its commitment to support our program in Lebanon," said Carroll. "By strengthening the role of local government in economic development, strengthening municipal financial and administrative capacities and encouraging e-government, we are building a successful model to promote and enhance the foundations of democracy."

Batlouni noted that the program is credited with successfully establishing essential foundations for effective local governance in Lebanon. 

"By reengineering and implementing replicable government processes and procedures, by training municipal elected officials and employees on the practices of good governance, and by making governmental procedures transparent and widely understood, transparency and accountability have been furthered in support of the overall democratic process," Batlouni said 

CLD has been working with USAID in Lebanon since 1993. CLD has implemented a multi-phase $40 million program that includes technical assistance to Parliament, several executive agencies, and more than 700 municipalities.

In addition to the assistance provided to local governments in Lebanon, CLD provides ongoing support to the key oversight agencies -the Civil Service Board, the Central Inspection Board, and the Court of Audit - with the objective of streamlining existing regulations and facilitating the creation of new regulations deemed necessary to strengthen the role of municipalities.  At the same time, CLD continues to provide complementary technical assistance to the Lebanese Parliament to support its role as a democratic institution.

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