"EVERY GOVERNMENT DEGENERATES WHEN TRUSTED TO THE RULERS OF THE
PEOPLE ALONE. THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES, THEREFORE, ARE ITS ONLY SAFE
THOMAS JEFFERSON - NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, QUERY 14, 1781
Participative planning, the road to true democracy in Lebanon
In our study of the Lebanese National Plan we shall endeavor to seek the answers to
1. What is planning?
2. Why do we need a Plan in Lebanon?
3. What are the main sector plans that make up the Lebanese National Plan?
4. Why the previous attempts at sector planning in Lebanon ended up in failure?
5. Which main steps should one follow to develop a National Plan?
6. Who should be involved in building the National Plan?
7. Who should be assigned to direct and monitor the elaboration and the
implementation of the sector plans?
8. How long will it take to execute the project?
9. What are the budgeted costs of the project?
10. What broad objectives do we aim to ultimately achieve through the Lebanese
11. Additional Notes
The Lebanese National Plan (LNP) 2013-2016
ASOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR THE NATION
1. WHAT IS PLANNING?
According to the business dictionary, planning is a basic management function
involving formulation of one or more detailed plans to achieve optimum balance of
needs or demands with the available resources. The planning process: (1) identifies
the goals or objectives to be achieved, (2) formulates strategies to achieve them, (3)
arranges or creates the means required, (4) identifies the individuals or the
organizations who will be involved in the process. (5) Implements, directs, and
monitors all steps in their proper sequence.
2. WHY DO WE NEED A PLAN IN LEBANON?
In addition to the obvious economic and social incentives that plainly justify all efforts to
revise and improve upon our current policies, there are other important considerations
that make it imperative for our government to introduce within the public Administration,
along with some urgently needed reforms, a modern system of participative planning.
Lebanon is a relatively small country with a population estimated at four and a half
million inhabitants. The citizens belong to a mosaic of eighteen different religious
communities. The political system in place is, what you may call, the closest thing to
democracy in a region where dictatorship was until recently the norm. However, a small
ruling business class in Lebanon has monopolized most of the economic advantages
to the detriment of the underprivileged majority. At election time, several opposing
political parties led by clan heads or “zaims” vie to entice the voters by offering them
monetary inducements instead of a political program. To make matters worse,
corruption has reached unprecedented heights at all levels of the public Administration.
Few formalities can be conducted smoothly without bribes or a personal
recommendation or “wasta” provided by some public official
All the efforts to fight these huge challenges have, so far, proved unsuccessful.
The adoption of a National Plan primarily aims at addressing these obstacles by
offering the citizens some viable alternatives.
1. Focusing attention upon achieving defined objectives
The in-depth study that will be required to develop the National Plan will allow us to
identify precisely what is going wrong in our country and how it should be rectified. It will
make it possible to single out and ascertain the objectives that ought to be achieved
over a definite period of time, at some specified cost.
2. Fighting corruption
The study will also expose the extent of the corruption that mines the Administration and
its harmful consequences. It will reveal ways and means to fight and eradicate this
3. Gaining hope for a better Lebanon
The National Plan, once it is formally adopted and enters its implementation phase, will
boost the morale of the population and the Civil Administration alike.
4. Improving governance
Good planning will allow the Authorities to anticipate and prevent crises rather than
rushing to solve them after they occur.
5. Providing a platform for the 2013 parliamentary elections
Probably the most valid “raison d’etre” for the National Plan is that it will provide the
voters in the June 2013 forthcoming parliamentary elections, with an action plan and a
yardstick to gauge the claims and the promises of the different candidates.
National Plan, LNP. Naturally, we may decide, at a later stage, to modify this list, if it
The following sector Plans were studied and elaborated by different governments during the period from 2005 to
1. « The Education and Higher Education Plan » 2010 authored by HE Hassan Mneimne
2. The « Social Pact » 2011 authored by HE Elie Sayegh
3. The Agriculture Plan, 2005 authored by HE Aly Hassan El Khalil
4. The Industry Plan, 2006 authored by HE the late Pierre Gemayel
5. The Tourism study, 1996 undertaken by the UNDP
6. The Water Policy 2011 authored by HE Gebran Bassil
7. The Electricity Policy 2010, authored by HE Gebran Bassil
8. The Transport study, 2011 authored by HE Ghazi El Aridi but not yet published.
9. The Environment Mission Program, 2011 authored by HE Nazem El Khoury
We note with regret that all the above plans, as well as many other plans that preceded them, have failed to this
day to be suitably implemented. Most plans were born dead or did not survive after the departure from office of
the Minister who authored them. Others have not been executed due to lack of funding or “political will”. Some
plans also broke down because their authors did not keep in mind the big picture. They omitted to recognize the
fact that the eighteen individual sector plans that make up the National Plan are all interrelated and
interdependent. One cannot reform one sector alone and ignore the others. In other instances, the plans
crashed because their authors did not go through the five basic elaboration processes described in paragraph 1
above. But, above all, the plans fell short because the citizens were not directly associated to the plan building
course. We shall comment on this last remark later in the report.
A. - PLAN PREPARATORY PHASE
1. Study the existing Lebanese Plans
2. Study the Irish Plan and some other successful foreign Plans
3. Agree upon a unified approach to Plan study
4. Agree upon a single basic Plan architecture
5. Allocate Plans among teams and team members
9. Draw up some lists of potential collaborators/participants
B. - INFORMATION, COLLECTION, STUDY & EVALUATION PHASE
10. Collect information from available sources (see attached list)
11. Evaluate information obtained
12. Discuss evaluated information with outside collaborators
13. Draw up preliminary execution programs
14. Discuss preliminary programs with outside collaborators
C. - PLAN ELABORATION PHASE
19. Receive and study all written suggestions
20. Introduce modifications as needed
21. Redraw draft plans and distribute to all concerned
22. Study the draft plans with UNDP/CDR/Experts
23. Study the draft plans with consultants
24. Study the draft plans with the parliamentary commissions
25. Study the draft plans with the Minister and his assistants
26. Redraw the final draft plan and forward to the Council of Ministers
|THE LEBANESE NATIONAL PLAN (Part one)