CPI The Lebanese Center for Public Information
PARTICIPATIVE
GOVERNANCE
PARTICIPATIVE GOVERNANCE
THE LEBANESE NATIONAL PLAN (Part two)


    Additional promises and resolutions

    1.        We shall study attentively all the concerned sectors and collect all
    available related information.
    2.        We shall diagnose the weaknesses in each sector and identify all
    the initiatives capable of addressing them.
    3.        In particular we shall take into consideration how other countries
    have solved some similar problems. For this purpose we shall study a
    number of foreign plans in so far as these solutions can be applicable to
    the local conditions in Lebanon.
    4.        In all cases we shall strive to identify, assess, and, as far as
    possible, quantify the goals and the objectives that we ought to achieve.
    5.        The CDR, the Center for Development and Research can offer
    invaluable assistance in that respect because they have already drawn
    plans for most sectors of the infrastructure and the economy. It is
    imperative to ensure their cooperation.
    6.        Workers and employers must be encouraged to participate in the
    elaboration of the National Plan.
    7.        We shall ask a group of experts to thoroughly evaluate our
    conclusions and monitor the project throughout the entire process.
    8.        We shall call on all public officials, municipal authorities, faculty
    heads, NGOs and religious institutions to take an active part in this
    National undertaking.
    9.        We shall encourage all the Lebanese citizens to participate in the
    plan building process to the best of their ability and offer suggestions
    and recommendations

    6. WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN BUILDING THE NATIONAL PLAN IN
    LEBANON?

    To this question we should summarily answer everyone. Let us explain
    what we actually mean by that expression and why we have decided to
    adopt that approach.

    Participative governance and participative planning are slowly but
    gradually forming part of a globally recognized state building process.

    In the Middle East, the “Arab Spring” revolutions occurred because the
    fake democratic systems that were in place did not allow for participative
    governance and its natural offshoot, participative planning. Decision
    making was monopolized by the rulers and their entourage. The citizens
    were neither informed nor consulted. In the end, the greediness, the
    hunger for exclusive power, and the short sightedness of the tyrants and
    their cohorts brought the people to rise against them.

    For all these reasons, we believe that the citizens in our country should
    be authorized and even encouraged to take an active part in the
    planning process as well as in monitoring the execution of the plans.

    Our project provides for a wide range of citizens’ groups to participate
    actively in the various processes of the planning operation. The sketch
    below best illustrates this proposed planning participation.

  A PROPOSED PARTICIPATIVE PLANNING STRUCTURE IN LEBANON





















    As can be seen from the sketch above, a leading active role will be reserved to university undergraduates,
    who will be called upon to search, collect and analyze all the information that will be needed to build up the
    eighteen sector plans that make up the National Plan. They will be assisted and guided in this task by a
    wide range of volunteer citizens’ associations, members of liberal professions, international consultants
    and experts, municipal authorities, and local political parties, as well as ministry staff and directors. But the
    most significant contribution in this domain is expected to be provided by the CDR, the Center for
    Research and Development which has replaced, since 1990, the previous Planning Ministry.

    All the citizens will be strongly encouraged to take part in the plan building process by registering with us,
    choosing one specific sector they are particularly interested in, and forwarding by email their ideas and
    their suggestions. These will be reviewed by an “Advising and Evaluation Committee” composed of
    representatives of the main groups mentioned above. The recommendations that are approved by the
    Committee will be taken into consideration and get included in the Plan.

    Most of the research work will be conducted on the web. The citizens can contact us anytime by email. We
    can arrange for certain meetings and discussions to take place in our offices.

    7.        WHO SHOULD BE ASSIGNED TO DIRECT AND MONITOR THE ELABORATION AND THE
    IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SECTOR PLANS?

    The readers who have followed me so far have certainly not failed to realize the complexity of the project
    that faces us. I am sure that, on several occasions they must have been tempted to object to the fact that
    we expect some young, relatively inexperienced, and untrained undergraduates to assume such hard and
    complex undertaking.

    To ally their fears, let me state at the outset that these undergraduates will not be left to tackle their job
    alone. Each team of undergraduates will have an experienced team leader who will coordinate and
    supervise their work.

    In addition, the advising and evaluation committees mentioned at the end of the preceding paragraph will
    provide the undergraduates with any advices, suggestions, and recommendations that they may require.

    8. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO EXECUTE THE PROJECT?

    We shall strive to complete the entire project by the end of May 2013, one month before the start of the
    parliamentary elections.

    1. - Preparatory Phase, (5 weeks)
    2. - Plan information collection, study and evaluation (16 weeks)
    3. - Plan elaboration (17 weeks)

    Projected study period: from first September 2012 to end May 2013


    9. WHAT ARE THE BUDGETED COSTS OF THE PROJECT?

    Let us state, at the outset, that the study of such an ambitious project will require some serious funding,
    considering the wide array of subjects that will have to be researched and analyzed before one can come
    up with a comprehensive and results oriented Plan.

    We describe below the essential elements of costs that we expect to incur.

    Four main categories of expenses should be considered:
    1.        The remuneration of faculty undergraduates
    Eighteen teams composed of university undergrads and one team leader each will be needed for the study
    of the eighteen sector plans. Each undergrad is expected to work some 150 hours per month on this
    project. Their remuneration will consist of three credits toward their university accreditation for the
    semester during which they work for the project.
    2.        The remuneration of the members of the advising and evaluation committees composed of experts
    and consultants who will be called upon to assist and advise the undergrads in their assignments and
    evaluate their performance. The amount of such remuneration will have to be considered and decided
    upon.
    3.        The cost of specific studies that some local and foreign institutions will be called upon to undertake.
    However, it must be pointed out that a great deal of studies are already available at CDR (The Council for
    Development and Reconstruction), at the Library of the Ministry of State for Administrative Reform, at the
    UNDP, at the National Office of Statistics, and at the Libraries of the different Ministries concerned.
    Additional information can also be obtained on the web, as well as from several foreign Embassies.
    4.        The cost of providing some suitable premises where the undergraduates will meet to perform their
    assignments as well as the cost of hiring suitable office equipment and furniture for that purpose, buying
    office furniture and allowing for transportation costs for the undergraduates.


    10. WHAT BROAD OBJECTIVES DO WE AIM TO ULTIMATELY ACHIEVE THROUGH THE LEBANESE
    NATIONAL PLAN?

    The implementation of a result oriented Lebanese National Plan will allow the Authorities to:

    1. Substitute a policy of crisis prevention through forward planning to the haphazard reactions to crisis that
    have been the norm in our Administration.
    2.        Carry on a sustainable and balanced national economic development and pursue an effective
    employment growth policy.
    3. Plan for an effective and scheduled overhaul of the country’s infrastructure.
    4. Allow all citizens an easy access to superior quality education and health services.
    5. Promote Social Inclusion and assist the underprivileged members of society.
    6. Lay down the foundations of an effective, fair and balanced fiscal strategy.
    7. Build some sound financial and monetary policies
    8. Consider a new approach to public debt containment.
    9. Review and agree upon a clear privatization strategy.
    10. Accurately evaluate the prospects of the latest oil and gas discoveries along the shores of Lebanon
    and pursue actively the confirmation of our rights to exploit these resources.
    11. Share with our DIASPORA the task and the means to reform our Society and our Institutions.
    12. Effectively combat corruption in all its forms.
    13.- Last, but not least, the LNP will serve to convince the Authorities to recognize the natural rights of the
    citizens,  associate them directly to the governance process through clear and transparent dissemination
    of information,  and encourage them to monitor, on a regular basis, the implementation of the National
    Plan. In this way we aim to fulfill the recommendation given by Thomas Jefferson to his people in 1781 that
    we quoted at the outset of this report, and heed the call made two centuries later by President John
    Kennedy: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for
    your country."

    11. Additional Notes

    I would like to add the following comments:

    1.        I believe that building a Plan in nine months (before the June 2013 elections) is doable:

    1)        Half of the eighteen sector plans already exist, in some form or another.
    2)        A great deal of information on the subject is available in Lebanon and abroad. The job will
    consist in seeking it, collecting it, and analyzing it. That can be done by the undergraduates during
    the first twenty one weeks of the project (see paragraph 8)
    3)        Provided we have the support of the University heads, recruiting the necessary number of
    undergraduates for such a mission should not be particularly difficult.
    4)        Securing the cooperation and the participation of economists, experts, ministry directors and
    their staff, international institutions, foreign and local NGOs, employers associations, and employee
    syndicates, even political parties, is of course a large undertaking, though I believe that it can be
    done.
    5)        The need to ask literally everybody to pitch in is obvious when we consider the present
    fragmentation of our society. Unless everybody or nearly everybody becomes conscious of the
    necessity of having a PLAN, we shall not be able to implement it successfully.

    2.        In the end, we should look at it this way:

    Let us not fool ourselves. There is no doubt that the Plan that will emerge on the 30th of May 2013
    will be far from perfect, however:
    i.        It will be the first attempt at a comprehensive and detailed Lebanese Plan since President
    Fouad Chehab’s groundwork in the nineteen sixties.
    ii.         Nothing prevents us from modifying or improving upon it as we go along during the four years
    period of its implementation. No Plan is ever final and perfect.
    iii.        However, it is absolutely essential that the execution of the Plan should be monitored by Civil
    Society on a monthly basis.
    iv.        That Plan will, at least, provide the Government with some broad framework and guidelines,
    and a list of objectives to achieve within a specific time frame at an agreed upon cost.
    v.        But, more importantly, once completed, it will enable the government to ascertain, as
    accurately as possible, the funds that will be needed to implement the Plan during the next four
    years (2013-2016), which, by the way, coincide with the period of the mandate of the new Chamber
    of Deputies). The Plan will also list up the alternative available sources of financing that can be
    made available to the Authorities
    vi.        With regard to the anticipated costs of elaborating and drawing up the entire National Plan
    with its eighteen sectors, the figure that is mentioned in paragraph nine of the report does not
    include certain expenses that I have found hard to anticipate. We can discuss this point
    subsequently.