U.S., Bulgaria Sign New Anti-corruption Initiative ALL - 2002/4/27
Source: Washington File

(3-year, $6.8 million program designed to improve accountability)

The United States and Bulgaria have agreed to cooperate on a new
anti-corruption initiative that is expected to improve the capacity of
the Bulgarian government to investigate corruption and the ability of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to review government activities.

The agreement was signed April 24 by U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) Administrator Andrew S. Natsios and Bulgarian
Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha during the prime minister's
visit to Washington.

The anti-corruption initiative is a three-year, $6.8 million program.
Following is a USAID press release with more details:

(begin text)

U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C.
http://www.usaid.gov
April 24, 2002

PRIME MINISTER OF BULGARIA AND USAID ADMINISTRATOR AGREE TO LAUNCH
"OPEN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE"

Washington, D.C. -- Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha
and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator
Andrew S. Natsios signed an agreement today to cooperate on a new
anti-corruption initiative. The three-year, $6.8 million program will
improve accountability mechanisms and the investigative capacity of
government institutions, as well as support non-governmental
organizations' (NGOs) review of government activities.

Administrator Natsios remarked, "corruption is a fundamental enemy of
reforms and development. We applaud the closer cooperation between the
public and private sectors in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian government's
anti-corruption strategy."

The first goal of the Open Government Initiative is to increase
transparency and reduce opportunities for corruption in public
administration. USAID will provide technical and in-kind assistance to
the Bulgarian government's anti-corruption efforts, particularly those
of the National Audit Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and the
Public Procurement Directorate of the Council of Ministers.

The second goal of the Open Government Initiative is to foster civil
society's efforts to promote transparency, accountability and
awareness of corruption through work with Coalition 2000, a well-known
partnership of a number of Bulgarian NGOs aimed at combating
corruption through a collaborative process with government
institutions, media and the private sector.

At the end of three years, the activities undertaken will result in
greater transparency and accountability among target Bulgarian
government institutions, increased public awareness of corruption, and
greater activism among civic groups to raise the standard against
which governmental conduct is measured.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic
and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.




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