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Cablegate: Ambassador Launches Mepi Assistance to Undp Program

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SANAA 002509

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

PASS TO NEA/PI, NEA/ARP, USAID/ANE/MEA FOR DMCCLOUD AND
MWOOLFORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMPI KDEM PGOV DEMOCRATIC REFORM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR LAUNCHES MEPI ASSISTANCE TO UNDP PROGRAM

1. (U) On September 20 Ambassador, AID Rep and United Nations
Development Program Resident Representative Flavia Pansieri
signed a 1.59 million USD agreement to support the UNDP
Decentralization and Local Development Support Project.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Planning and
International Cooperation Ahmed Sofan and Minister of Local
Administration Sadeq Abu Ras witnessed the signing. MEPI is
contributing 1.2 million and USAID 390,000 USD to this
program implemented by USAID-Yemen is designed to assist the
ROYG carry out is stated goal of fiscal and political
decentralization.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Decentralization Important For Long Term Development
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (U) In early 2004, the Ministry of Local Administration
requested US Embassy participation in this program to further
its goals and encourage other donors to join their effort.
Fiscal decentralization is a necessary factor in Yemen's
continued long term democratic and economic development.
Begun in 2001, local councils in Yemen have achieved limited
success due to poorly trained members and lack of national
fiscal and administrative suport. The Local Councils Grant
will support decentralization at the national level at the
Ministry of Local Administration and support pilot activities
at the pilot level in al-Jawf and Abyan governorates. At the
national level, the program will focus on developing laws and
procedures to institutionalize transparent local tendering
and citizen participation in decentralized Public Expenditure
Management. In Abyan and al-Jawf the program will support
local councils to implement the tendering process.

-------------------------------------------
Buttresses Overall USG Development Strategy
-------------------------------------------

3. (U) The grant compliments Post's ongoing agricultural,
health and education projects designed to train ministries to
move professional planning and budget making to the director
general offices in the Mission's five target governorates.
Post's development strategy focuses on al-Jawf, Marib,
Shabwa, Amran and Sa'ada. Abyan was added to the local
council program because it is similarly poor and tribal to
the other five governorates, but as a legacy from the former
South Yemen, boasts higher education rates and several
active women's groups who could participate in a strong,
active local council.

4. (SBU) Comment: With the signing of the decentralization
program, Post can more actively advocate for continued ROYG
decentralization, which while accepted as a national goal
faces opposition from strong central government bureaucrats
loath to give up their power. A fundamental component of
Post's development strategy is bringing basic government
services to remote, impoverished tribal areas. Part of that
process must be citizen involvement in local decision making.
By professionalizing local councils, the joint MEPI/USAID
program will be providing the tools for disenfranchised
Yemenis to make smart decisions about resource allocation to
enable them to participate in the democratic processes. End
comment.

KRAJESKI

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