The Senior Budget Officials regional network for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is in fact part of the "Governance of Public Finance" component of the wider MENA Initiative. This Initiative is a regional effort, initiated and led by countries in the Middle East and North Africa. It promotes broad reforms to inter alia modernise governance structures and operations, strengthen regional and international partnerships, and promote sustainable economic growth throughout the MENA region. The objective of the MENA Initiative is to strengthen countries' capacity to design and implement policy reforms and facilitate policy dialogue and sharing of experience among policy makers from MENA countries and their OECD counterparts.
This programme was formally launched at a ministerial conference hosted by the Prime Minister of Jordan under the patronage of King Abdullah II at the Dead Sea on 6-7 February 2005. Prime ministers and ministers from 18 Arab countries endorsed a declaration setting out the objectives and plans for implementation of the programme. The Secretary-General of the OECD, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, the Assistant Director of UNDP, officials from the European Union, and representatives from many OECD countries attended the launching conference.
The Governance of Public Finance component of the MENA Initiative is chaired by Ms. Lamia Moubayed Bissat, Director of the Institute of Finance, Lebanon, and co-chaired by Mr. Mårten Blix, Director, Budget Department, Ministry of Finance of Sweden.