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The signing of the accords not only ends nearly four decades of
armed conflict, but also commits the nation to an ambitious
program of development, democracy, social integration, and
political renovation.
USAID played a leadership role among
donors to support this effort and expects to continue
implementing programs that will enhance democracy and governance
in the region.
USAID also intends to support priority
initiatives approved at the Miami Summit of the Americas and the
Santiago Summit of 1998.
Compared to the 1993 survey that classified only Haiti as a "not
free" country in which USAID implements programs, the 1996 survey
did not identify any USAID assisted country in the region as "not
free."
Four countries (Bolivia, Guyana, Jamaica, and Panama)
were classified as "free,"
11 were "partly free," and 0 were not
free.
From 1997 to 1999, we expect a continued increase in the
number of countries classified as "free," corresponding to
improvements in political rights and civil liberties.
Eastern Europe and the New Independent States:
USAID assistance
in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) will decline in the near
future.
Programs in the Czech Republic and Slovenia were closed
in FY 1997.
Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia are
candidates for close out in the upcoming years.
The phase out
process in the northern tier of the CEE region provides
opportunities for increasing efforts in the southern tier where
progress is slower.
There are notable accomplishments in the NIS
region in terms of increased numbers of contested elections, NGO
strengthening, and independent media development.
Nevertheless,
these accomplishments must be balanced against a background of
increased government corruption and occasional authoritarian
political reversals.
In Belarus, media, labor NGOs, the
parliament and judiciary are being undermined by actions of the
executive branch.
Much of Central Asia continues to lag behind
other parts of the ENI region.
Flawed presidential elections in
Armenia have contributed to the President's forced resignation in
February, 1998; implementation of the upcoming elections in
Armenia remains uncertain.
Overall, political and civil rights
have taken impressive steps forward in the region, even as
economic and social rights have either suffered retreats or not
kept pace.
There is increasing emphasis on local level approaches through
NGOs, local government, and small and medium enterprises.
In
Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Russia and the Central Asian
Republics, USAID will continue to focus resources on a bottom up
approach as a means of deepening democratic commitment and
strengthening decentralization.
In Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and
Uzbekistan, NGO development will continue to be emphasized.
Agency Strategic Goal:
Democracy and good governance strengthened.
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