PARTICIPATIVE
GOVERNANCE
                      
               THE LAUNCH OF THE  L.N.D.P.

                                                              INTRODUCTION

    I am sure that nobody will disagree with me if I assert that all the citizens of this country are
    somewhat dissatisfied with the way things are going on, in Lebanon, at the present time. Each
    one of these four and a half million individuals may have his/her own opinion on how to remedy to
    that situation and make things better for all.

    Unfortunately, few have taken the initiative to communicate these views to others and prefer to
    rely on the Authorities to come up with the “magic solution” and the “magic cure” that will solve all
    our problems. They seem to forget that such an attitude has been the norm in our country for the
    past seventy years with the results that we contemplate nowadays.

    It is, for these reasons, that our NGO, CPI the Lebanese Center for public information, has
    decided to publish the following proposals for all to see and judge. Many will conclude, after
    reading these pages, that we are mere idealists who live in “la la land” and ignore the hard
    realities.

    I refer these skeptics to the last slides in this web site that is entitled “YES WE CAN!”. In our
    view, sooner or later, the Authorities in this country will have to go through that path or a similar
    one. So why not now, instead of later, when it will be harder and costlier, not for them, because
    they will have departed by then, but for the remaining four and a half million citizens who will be
    left "holding the pot".  

                                                    
                                                    Foreword
                                            Lebanon 1993- 2013
                               the missed opportunities

    Before we set to reform our current policies and improve the overall performance of Lebanon’s
    Public Administration, we need to cast a hard look at the events of the past twenty years. That
    period started  with the legitimate intent of reconstructing the country at the end the civil war. The
    mission was successfully completed, within the norms standards, and budgets that were initially
    set up. A book, entitled “Lebanon rebuilt, 10 years of achievement 1992-2002” that was
    prefaced by Prime Minister Rafic Hariri himself, provides an overview of the achievements and
    the costs that were incurred. Unfortunately, that commendable realization was subsequently
    marred by some fundamental errors in financial policy that we shall revert to subsequently. The
    two decades that elapsed from 1993 to date were marked by the following  upheavals, errors
    and excesses:

    A string of political crisis and foreign interferences in our country that were fuelled  and
    aggravated by perennial dissensions among the various religious communities and an
    unceasing infighting between two opposing political blocs.
    A pervading climate of corruption that has crept,  within Lebanese society and throughout our
    entire Public Administration.
    Some erroneous fiscal and financial policies that were applied by the Authorities  These
    policies, that unfortunately, remain unchanged today, have resulted in an unnatural growth of
    Lebanon’s Public Debt that grew, from the original reconstruction cost of seven billion dollars
    stated above, to the current amount of $65 billion US dollars. This huge increase is due to the
    accumulation, over twenty years, of unpaid compound interest on the original loan, as shown in
    the successive yearly reports of the Ministry of Finance..
    The lack of a clear long term vision demonstrated by our successive governments coupled with
    a near total absence of  a firm and solid governance policy.

    To reverse this negative trend and set the country on the path of social justice and economic
    development, we would have to start by drawing up a clear and detailed short-term socio-
    economic plan and agree upon some new fiscal and debt management policies for the country.
    Furthermore, a clear cut anti-corruption agenda ought to be put in place at the earliest possible
    opportunity.

    If we wish to avoid falling, once more, into the same trap, all these programs ought to be, from
    the start, unanimously endorsed and supported by the political parties and the religious
    communities. They should be subsequently validated and approved in Parliament by the
    majority of the deputies. Finally, an implementation procedure should be initiated and strictly
    adhered to. It should provide for an independent periodical monitoring of the performance of the
    Authorities. Civil society must be allowed to take part in the monitoring process..
                                   
                                        THE TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. WHAT are the problems that we face now in Lebanon?
    In this section we briefly review the events of the past two decades. We also
    consider our current situation, and the consequences of failing to implement some
    indispensable reforms.

    2. WHAT is the  L.N.D.P., and WHY do we need  it?
    The L.N.D.P. (The Lebanese National Development Plan) is a document that
    describes in details Lebanon’s social, economic, infrastructure, financial and
    Diaspora’s policies. The Plan covers eighteen major sectors. In each sector the
    authors of the Plan will seek to  identify : (1)  the issues that we face in Lebanon,
    (2)  the reforms that need to be introduced to address these issues, (3) the way to
    implement these reforms,  and (4)  the financing that will be needed to bring  the
    entire  project to a satisfactory conclusion.

    3. HOW shall we build the L.N.D.P.?
    We shall build the L.N.D.P., one sector at a time,  by identifying  all the related
    issues, and their appropriate solutions. This work will be undertaken under the
    supervision  of qualified and experienced experts provided by the European Union
    Commission.

    4.& 5.  WHO will take part in this project?
    The Authorities, the Experts, the Undergraduates and the Stakeholders should all
    participate in building the L.N.D.P.

    6. WHEN is the launch of the L.N.D.P. expected to take place?
    The L.N.D.P. should be completed before the parliamentary elections scheduled to
    be held in November 2014. The L.N.D.P. will serve as a yardstick to evaluate the
    claims and the promises of the candidates, and to effectively gauge the
    performance of the Authorities during the four years parliamentary mandate.

    7 & 8.    A GLIMPSE at the 6 Plans that are already formulated
    The Education Plan, the Agriculture Plan, The Industry Plan, The Energy Plan,
    The Water Plan, The Environment Plan.

    9. THE SOLUTION to our problems lies in the adoption of some essential
    reforms and the revision of our current fiscal & financial strategies. The L.N.D.P.,
    once it is completed, will reveal to us the type and the extent of the contemplated
    reforms, as well as the details of the fiscal and the financial strategies that we
    ought to implement.

    10. CONCLUSION: Twenty years of failing to reach our objectives should
    not put us off. "Yes, we can!" and we shall overcome!