Promoting Public Participation in Lebanon

Middle East & North Africa Program

The UN Development Programme estimates that corruption costs Lebanon $5 billion a year, or nearly 10% of its gross domestic product. Corruption, coupled with flawed policies and a good governance deficit, has created a desperate need for independent Lebanese civil society to engage in policymaking and push for government accountability. Yet, no legal framework requires the government to consult with civil society, or the public, during policy development.

To address this, ICNL partnered with the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI), a civil society organization promoting transparent management of oil and gas resources, in drafting a model public consultations law.

Public understanding of and support for the model law is critical for its passage. With ICNL’s support, LOGI organized a series of online dialogues, consultations, and webinars on the importance of public participation in policy development and pushed for stronger legal protections.

Simultaneously, LOGI launched a robust digital campaign using engaging graphics and short videos with notable Lebanese experts and activists that reached a diverse audience of almost 500,000 people.

“Greater public participation and involvement in the development of a robust and much needed legislative framework will ensure that Lebanese citizens are part of and own the reform process.”

As a result, public consultation, including the need for civil society organizations to engage in legislative processes and hold the government accountable, is now a prominent topic of debate. Increasingly, members of parliament, citizens, and civil society are bringing forth an array of issues for public consultation. Partially due to this public pressure, the Lebanese parliament has started publishing laws it has passed, an important step toward increased transparency.

With growing public and political support, the law could create a pathway to ensure all Lebanese people can participate and oversee the government that represents them.

This story is from our 2020-2021 Annual Report. Each story in the report shows how our partners across the world help protect and, where possible, expand civic space.