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U.S. Partnerships in Libya

How the United States Partners with the Government of Libya and the Libyan People

The United States has a strategic interest in a stable and prosperous Libya, and is supporting Libya’s democratic transition in cooperation with the UN and other international partners. Recognizing Libya’s own substantial resources, the United States has focused on building Libyan institutions and increasing its capacity to govern effectively, hold free and fair elections, and manage public finances transparently and responsibly. We have also provided targeted assistance to support the development of Libyan civil society and its security forces. Investing modestly in Libya’s future will help further advance Libya’s democratic transition, promote stability, and strengthen the U.S.-Libya partnership.

Since February 2011, the United States has provided $170 million in assistance, mostly in response to urgent humanitarian and security challenges in the immediate aftermath of the beginning of the conflict. We have also focused on supporting capacity building efforts within government institutions, developing civil society, and facilitating free and fair elections. All programs advance key U.S. interests by filling critical capacity gaps within U.S.-Libya identified transition priorities. All projects are being coordinated with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

The United States has also resumed a full range of people-to-people programming and exchanges, to include scholarships, fellowships, English-language education, educational advising, cultural preservation, and short term visits and training in the United States.

Democracy, Governance, Rule of Law, Human Rights 

Constitutional Development: The United States, in coordination with the UN, is working with civil society, government, and the media to ensure the process of constitutional development is transparent and participatory to ensure broad public support for the final document. A particular focus will be ensuring the constitution guarantees rights for minorities and women.

Election Management and Administration: The United States provided technical assistance and support for election management and administration, including developing legal electoral frameworks, creating a voter registry, and strengthening the election management body, all in close cooperation with the Government of Libya, the European Union and the UN.

Independent Media: The United States is working to strengthen local and independent media, and to provide training that improves journalistic standards and enhances the ability of Libyan media to report on the activities of government.

Elections Monitoring: The United States contributed support to an international elections observation mission to help ensure electoral transparency and credibility during Libya’s first national elections. The U.S. also provided technical assistance to a network of Libyan partners to organize nationwide domestic elections monitoring efforts.

Political Party Development and Voter Outreach: The United States is providing technical assistance to new political parties as they work to develop the platforms, messages, and core skills needed to effectively participate in public discussion and debate. The United States is also supporting civil society efforts to launch country-wide civic and voter education initiatives.

Supporting New Representative Bodies: The United States is developing programming to support representative bodies at the national and local level, including on developing outreach mechanisms for engaging the public..

Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration: The United States is assisting the Government of Libya in navigating the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of militia members. Together, the civilian and military elements of the U.S. government are working with the Government of Libya to help them formulate this critical area of programming.

Justice and Security Sector: The United States is working with Libyan authorities to develop ways to support the delivery of justice and security in a manner that promotes democratic values now and as constitutionally determined structures build themselves.

Transitional Justice: The United States is working with government, civil society, and other informal community leaders to build transparent systems for justice and reconciliation in the wake of the revolution. This includes working with the UN Commission of Inquiry's ability to catalogue its documentation of human rights abuses .

NGO Development: The United States is providing technical assistance to NGOs throughout Libya to bolster their administrative, financial, and programmatic capacities. This includes bolstering the ability of local bar associations and advocacy groups to advocate for rule of law reform during the democratic transition.

Forensics and Mass Graves: The United States is providing forensic technical assistance, including mapping human rights and international humanitarian law abuses and preserving evidence by: mapping the number and extent of mass graves; providing technical expertise on forensic-based exhumations; providing training and capacity building to civil society organizations on human rights documentation practices and the use of forensic evidence; and engaging and empowering victims’ groups and families of the missing to ensure that they are a supportive part of the transitional justice process. 

Economic Revitalization

Public Financial Management: The United States is providing targeted technical assistance to the Government of Libya to promote financial transparency and improve governance of Libya’s financial and economic resources.

Economic Growth and Trade Facilitation: The United States is providing technical advice to the Government of Libya on public infrastructure-related projects and facilitating meetings with US businesses who can source services and equipment for reconstruction.

Africa Diaspora Marketplace: The United States added Libya to the 2012 African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) initiative. This public-private partnership encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting U.S.-based diaspora entrepreneurs with startups and established businesses on the African continent.

Women’s Economic Empowerment: The United States is developing an assistance program to bolster economic empowerment opportunities for women by providing business skills training activities to women and key actors in the business community.

Security Assistance

Presidential Drawdown Authority for Non-Lethal Equipment: The United States has provided non-lethal assistance, including personnel protective gear, uniforms, and halal Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), to Government security forces through the Presidential drawdown authority.

Conventional Weapons Destruction: The United States is supporting international mine action NGOs to clear unexploded ordnance and destroy unsecured conventional weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs).

Weapons Abatement: The U.S. committed significant assistance for conventional weapons mitigation efforts, including the survey, inventory and disposal of known weapons and ammunition storage sites in Libya.

Border Security Training: The Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) program is resuming engagement with the Government of Libya (GOL) with targeted technical assistance focused on land border security. As part of an overall U.S. Government effort, EXBS developed an approved list of immediate deliverables for near term border security assistance.

Ministry of Defense Advisory Support: The Department of Defense is providing advisory support through the Defense Institution Reform Initiative (DIRI) to the Libyan Ministry of Defense to assist in the process of establishing defense institutions and armed forces that are unified, capable, and subject to civilian control and the rule of law. This effort supports other USG and international initiatives aimed at broader security sector reform.

Chemical weapons security and destruction: The United States has provided support for improving the near-term security of Libya’s chemical weapons and is working closely with the Libyan authorities to facilitate the eventual destruction of these weapons with the oversight of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons..


Support for the War Wounded: The United States facilitated collaboration between the Government of Libya and U.S. hospitals to provide advanced medical treatment to warriors who were severely injured in combat. Currently, the U.S. is assisting the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs in improving the management and technical capacity of the Libyan health care system to care for the war wounded. This assistance includes the development of pairing relationships with U.S. based institutions.

Humanitarian Assistance

Refugee and IDP Relief: In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, the United States provided humanitarian assistance to international organizations and NGOs aiding internally displaced persons, refugees, and migrants in Libya and neighboring countries through health, humanitarian protection, logistics, water, sanitation, and hygiene activities, as well as the distribution of emergency relief supplies and food assistance.

People-to-People Exchanges

Higher Education Task Force: In May 2012, the United States and Libya launched the U.S.-Libya Higher Education Task Force to expand educational exchanges and cooperation.

Fulbright: Libyan students who were scheduled to participate in the Fulbright program prior to the revolution have had their candidacies restored. In the 2012-2013 academic year, Libya will send 14 Fulbright students to the United States—double the size of the previous cohort. Approximately 1,700 Libyans submitted applications for the 14 grants.

Educational Advising: EducationUSA is expanding its virtual and on-the-ground presence to provide educational advising to Libyan students interested in studying in the United States.

English Language: The English Access Microscholarship Program has three active programs in Libya—one in Tripoli and two in Benghazi—with a total of 80 Libyan students ages 14-18. Embassy Tripoli is currently exploring partnerships to further expand the Access Program, as well as other means of meeting the substantial nationwide demand for classes in English as a Second Language.

Cultural Preservation: The United States is providing resources toward a partnership between Oberlin College and the Libyan Department of Antiquities to document and preserve endangered archaeological sites.

International Visitor Leadership Programs (IVLP): Approximately 30 Libyan government officials, youth and civil society representatives, women leaders, and journalists will participate in three-week professional development IVLPs during the FY 2012 fiscal year.

Youth Leadership Program: Libyan high school students will join participants from Egypt and Tunisia for a three-week leadership and cross-cultural exchange in the United States in August 2012.