Syrian Arab Republic

About MENA-OECD Governance Programme


The MENA-OECD Governance Programme aims at modernising public governance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). By improving the environment for entrepreneurs, investors and job creation, it works towards sustaining development in the MENA region.


The Initiative builds upon the ongoing efforts of MENA countries to modernise public governance. In particular:

  • Strengthen civil servants’ capacity to design, implement and monitor public governance reforms
  • Create networks for dialogue between policy makers from MENA and OECD countries
  • Design innovative solutions, tailored to the specific policy environments of each MENA country
  • Assist ministries and government agencies to co-operate and co-ordinate their work
  • Reinforce development initiatives supported by international, regional and bilateral donors.


Forum for MENA and OECD policy makers


The Initiative created a forum for results-oriented policy dialogue, bringing together practitioners from MENA and OECD countries.


Through this innovative partnership, policy makers share their know-how on implementing public governance policies in priority reform areas, each represented by a Regional Working Group and led by a Steering Group composed of MENA Chairs and OECD Co-Chairs. These guide and supervise the activities of the Working Groups to ensure a co-ordinated government-wide and non-sectoral approach.


Working Groups


Setting clear targets and monitoring results

The implementation process of the Initiative was launched in 2004 to review the MENA regional policy dialogue at national level and:

  • Implement good practices and peer reviews by policy practitioners to design innovative solutions based on time-tested OECD working methods.
  • Define clear action targets aimed for realistic change.
  • Support pilot projects technically and through financial assistance by international donors as they serve as reference models for other participating countries. 
  • Monitor tools to ensure a timely and result-oriented implementation of the Initiative.


The MENA-OECD Governance Programme is supported by a unique partnership between the OECD and the Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (UNDP-POGAR). It is funded by voluntary contributions from Canada, Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden (Swedish International Co-operation Agency, SIDA), Turkey, the UK and the US as well as by contributions from Arab countries. In addition, these and further OECD countries as well as multilateral institutions like the World Bank provide policy expertise on an ongoing basis.



The MENA-OECD Initiative is a regional effort, launched in Jordan on 7 February 2005 when Prime Ministers and Ministers from 18 Arab economies signed the so-called Dead Sea Declaration during the Initiative's official Launching Conference.

Arab governments participate in one or several of the Initiative’s Regional Working Groups on a voluntary basis, ensuring these groups are driven by players committed to reform and co-operation in a group’s specific policy field. The MENA-OECD Initiative’s activities are based on ownership and demand to ensure an effective peer review process and consistent mutual monitoring.

On a regional level, such policy dialogue is coordinated by the Arab Chair of each Regional Working Group. On the national level, National Co-ordination Committees provide country level co-ordination and co-operation.

OECD member countries participate in the Regional Working Groups either in their function as Arab Chair  or depending on their capacity to provide know-how and experience in a given reform area.





Palestinian Authority



Working Groups

The Regional Working Groups of the The MENA-OECD Governance Programme are designed to drive an in-depth and results-oriented regional policy dialogue among the Initiative's Key Actors, the participating Arab and OECD countries.  






Civil Service & Integrity



Open and Innovative Government

UAE (Dubai)


MENA-OECD Network of Senior Budget Officials



Public Service Delivery, PPP & Regulatory Reform



Regional Working Groups are presided over by an Arab Chair and an OECD Co-chair, with Arab Chairs usually hosting Regional Working Group meetings in their respective countries. All participating countries are invited to take part in these meetings, but do so on a voluntary basis to ensure that Regional Working Groups are driven by players committed to reform and co-operation, and are based on country ownership and demand. Regional Working Group participants come from a variety of backgrounds, ensuring an appropriate mix of experts and policy makers from both Arab and OECD countries. A key criterion for all participants is their capacity to influence the reform agenda in their country and their particular field.  


Participation of country delegates from across the MENA region leads to a broad, regional perspective and to the exchange of best practices, the sharing of knowledge and lessons learned, and the avoidance of mistakes previously committed by others. In order to ensure maximum coordination and cooperation at the national level, Regional Working Group delegates are supported by their National Co-ordination Committees, which promote what has become known as the Initiative’s ‘whole-of-government’ approach.


Regional Working Groups meet up to three times a year.


Steering Group


The Initiative’s Steering Group assembles the Arab Chairs  and Arab Chairs  of the Regional Working Groups as well as members of the Joint OECD/UNDP Executive Secretariat and of other collaborating organizations, such as the World Bank and the European Commission. Its role is to continually review the progress achieved in implementing the objectives of the Initiative. The Steering Group supervises the Regional Working Groups’ contributions to ensure a coordinated approach and methodology as well as a whole-of-government perspective.


The Steering Group Chairs and Co-chairs supervise the work of the GfD Initiative’s Regional Working Groups and coordinate their activities with those of the Investment pillar, including their Chairs' participation in the High Level Steering Group meetings of the Investment for Development Programme. In close cooperation with the Joint Executive Secretariat, they promote the Initiative at national, regional and international meetings and conferences and vis-à-vis potential donors and financial institutions.


The Steering Group meets twice a year, in addition to the annual GfD Conferences. These GfD Conferences also assemble the National Co-ordinators of the Participating Arab Countries as well as a wider circle of representatives from Arab and OECD countries. They will contribute to promoting dialogue with representatives of the international community, civil society and the business sector in order to mobilise broad support for the Initiative.


Steering Group Events & Conferences, in chronological order





 Key material



 Documentation and links by Working Group



Web links

GfD Working Group VI : Civil Society and the Media 

• Algeria

• Bahrain

• Egypt

• Iraq

• Jordan

• Kuwait

• Lebanon

• Mauritania

• Morocco

• Oman

• Qatar

• Palestinian Authority

• Syria

• Tunisia


• Yemen

Involved International Organisations

• Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO)

• Arab Monetary Fund

• European Commission:


• International Monetary Fund

• Institute of Internal Auditors

• League of Arab States

• United Nations Development Programme, Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (UNDP POGAR)

• The World Bank:


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