The European Commission on Tuesday confirmed that it would provide an additional funding package to help the Yemeni people and the transitional government respond to the country's multiple governance challenges and address some of the grievances which led to protests that swept the Arab world in 2011.
The new EUR 18 million funding will provide support in four main areas: democracy, civil registry, legal reforms and decentralization. Bulk of this support will consist of technical assistance such as providing training and expertise, and the relevant equipment to introduce necessary reforms, as well as grants for awareness-raising and training.
It will also strengthen the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referenda, the Supreme Authority for Vital Statistics and Civil Registration, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and selected local councils - all key institutions in terms of getting Yemen back on the road to democracy ahead of the forthcoming elections in 2014.
The support will also help Yemeni authorities to develop a civil register and fund awareness-raising campaigns for the population to understand the need for and the benefits of registration. The fund will be used to purchase new software to make the civil registry system more efficient. The very low rate of registration with the civil registry is a long-standing problem in Yemen, which in turn has a negative impact on the delivery of basic services, human rights and the rule of law.
"The EU has supported Yemen's transition process right from the start and this new support represents our on-going response to the aspirations of the Yemeni people for a just, democratic and well-run Yemeni state." said Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development.
Respect for human rights, improved democratic governance, political participation, accountability and transparency were the key demands of the protests that triggered the transition process in Yemen during 2011. This EU program will help the Yemeni authorities address precisely these demands, by strengthening key central authorities, supporting the delivery of basic services at the local level and strengthening the social contract between the state and its people.
The EU has played a significant role in support of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative - responding to the street protests - and a peaceful transition process in Yemen.
The GCC initiative was the negotiated solution to power transfer in Yemen and was signed by the then President Ali Abdullah Saleh on November 23, 2011 in Riyadh. The Implementation mechanism attached to the initiative sets out a number of steps to be taken before fully-fledged elections in early 2014.
Among these steps are the dismantling of armed militias in capital Sanaa and around the country, convening a government of national unity, carrying out a national dialogue, electoral reforms and reviewing the Constitution.
by RTT Staff Writer
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