Debating decentralisation ahead of Lebanon’s May 2017 general elections

Decentralisation is a hot topic in the debates leading up to Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, due in May 2017. Lebanon’s decentralisation law promises more transparent and participatory local governance, enhanced public service provision and greater engagement at the local level. Under the current system, various legal, administrative, financial and social constraints hinder local authorities (municipalities and municipal unions) in performing their tasks. Fortunately, opposing political sides are committed to make this reform happen; the parliamentary Administration and Justice Committee meets on a weekly basis to discuss the Administrative Decentralisation Bill, championed by the Minister of Interior and Municipalities in 2014.

To support this process, DRI Lebanon launched a programme to analyse the needs and challenges of municipal unions across the country together with four Lebanese partners – the Partnership Center for Development and Democracy (PCDD), NAHNOO, Beyond Reform and Development (BRD) and the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

In February 2017, DRI Lebanon trained 24 experts to carry out an assessment of 75% of Lebanon’s 56 municipal unions, with a focus on solid waste management, security and municipal police, and transparency.

The project kicked off with an expert meeting on decentralisation in December 2016, where academics, researchers, government representatives, and civil society activists discussed the current decentralisation framework and made recommendations. Expert meetings continue to inform the development of the programme. The next steps will be to conduct consultation sessions at the governorate level, where key findings from the survey will be presented.

This news story is published in the framework of the project “An Agenda for Decentralisation – Local Governance in Lebanon”, funded by the German Foreign Office.

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