Today, U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard attended the launch event of the conference on “OECD Cooperation with Lebanon on Good Governance,” organized jointly by the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR) and the Public Governance Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The U.S. Department of State through the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) has supported the first two phases of OECD project in the region entitled “Open Government: Promoting Access to information in the MENA Region.” The program in Lebanon will encompass five technical seminars and trainings slated to take place between April 2019 and June 2020. The trainings and seminars will train public officials from selected ministries on access to information, the development and implementation guide for Lebanon’s new Access to Information (ATI) law, in addition to training on the ATI law.
In her speech, Ambassador Richard noted: “I think every Lebanese citizen knows how important it is to have a government that serves the interests of its citizens and provides comprehensive information about decisions, budgets and processes.… Without adequate access to information about government policies and programs, citizens, policy makers, and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions. A lack of transparency never improves service delivery.” She also indicated that, “passing a law is of course just the first step in ensuring access to information, and I am here today to talk about how the United States, with our other international partners represented here, is committed to helping Lebanon make this a reality, Today’s ceremony highlights several interrelated programs. The U.S. is funding the piece called “Promoting Access to information in the MENA Region,” being implemented by OECD. It supports Lebanon’s national action plan for the access to Information Law.” Ambassador Richard concluded that “Our support for this program is just one of the things that we are doing to support Lebanon. …We are doing this to help Lebanon through what we know has been a very difficult period…We are here to help, we are here to support, we are here to assist. But initiatives like what we are launching today require your leadership, your initiative, and your commitment.”
Ambassador Richard’s remarks.