Since 2004, the Center for Legislative Development has provided assistance to almost 900 local government institutions including municipalities, administrative districts, and governorates in Lebanon under the auspices of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Lebanon Relief and Redevelopment Project. Program activities are focused on strengthening administrative, financial, and human resource capacities of the targeted institutions, curbing the spread of corruption, and enhancing citizen participation in decision-making processes. Overall project goals are to support the core democratic values of accountability, transparency, and effectiveness.
Mahmoud Batlouni is the Country Director.
Active in Lebanon since 1994 and continuously funded by USAID, the Center has also supplied ongoing support to the key central oversight agencies--the Civil Service Board, the Central Inspection Board, and the Court of Audit--to streamline existing regulations and to facilitate the creation of new regulations to strengthen the role of municipalities. At the same time, SUNY/CLD has provided technical assistance to the Lebanese Parliament to enhance its administrative and legislative capacities in support of its role as a democratic institution.
Lebanon held municipal elections in 1998 for the first time in 35 years. In 2001, USAID funded the Center’s program of municipal reform as it recognized the crucial role of local government in long-term economic growth. A cornerstone of the assistance program is the introduction of information and communication technology resources to modernize municipal work and ensure sustainability of the reform efforts beyond the life of the project.
Initial activities for local government institutions involved the redesign and restructuring of municipal work by simplifying, standardizing, and automating procedures and processes to strengthen both human resource and financial management capabilities. Specific activities for municipalities include workshops for elected officials, training for staff, development of customized computer applications and user guides, creation of interactive websites, organization of Citizen Reception Offices, and development of municipal citizen guides.
The development and implementation of the standardized and automated procedures and processes has led to greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the work of local government while positively reinforcing the role of elected officials in the country. SUNY/CLD’s program is now credited with successfully rebuilding local governments across Lebanon while providing modern management systems and e-government procedures as well as the training necessary to enhance the quality of governance.