Support to Parliamentary Development in Lebanon

Summary

This project is funded by the European Union under the Social Justice Programme, which is comprised of eight projects. Its objective is to advocate for democracy, human rights and social justice in Lebanon, promoting good governance and gender equality at its core. Overall, the programme supports the strengthening of the institutional framework for the protection of human rights and the development of democratic governance in Lebanon.

The project “Support Parliamentary Development in Lebanon” aims to enhance the Parliament’s ability to carry out its functions and responsibilities efficiently. By providing support to Parliament development, the EU seeks to advance the key issues of accountability, transparency and good governance and strengthen democratic procedures in Lebanon.

Budget, timeframe, scope, beneficiaries
Implementation period: June 2014 – September 2017
Beneficiary: Lebanese Parliament
Budget: € 2,000.000
Overall objective: Enhancing the Parliament’s ability to effectively carry out its functions and responsibilities

Project purpose

• Strengthening the legislative role of Parliament in reviews of draft laws, including the passing of pending laws and the implementation of newly enacted legislation;
• Enhancing oversight functions over government activities and budgetary processes;
• Supporting parliamentary staffs’research activities, indispensable for successfully performing the legislative, representative and oversight functions of the Parliament, and in particular of the parliamentary committees;
• Improving the current interactions between individual citizens and the Parliament of Lebanon.

Results

1. Improving the quality of legislation and legislative process

• Undertook a detailed analysis of the law making process, with recommendations for improvement.
• Modernized the electronic Legislative Tracking System (BTS)in place. The system facilitates MPs and staffers easier access to legislation and legislative documents. Progress in the legislative process can be tracked easier.
• Delivered a Manual on Legal Drafting. The Manual provides rules and standards for drafting of legislative documents. It will help to standardize legal texts and therefore increase the quality of legislation.
• Increased legal drafting capacities of staffers through a series of trainings for parliamentary staffers.

2. Parliamentary Oversight

• Undertook a detailed analysis on the existing oversight mechanisms, with recommendations for improvement.
• Developed a Manual on oversight hearings. The Manual provides guidelines on how to prepare and conduct oversight hearings by parliamentary committees.
• Delivered Training Needs Analysis and a training programme for parliamentary staffers.
• Set recommendations on strengthening cooperation between Parliament and Independent Regulatory Agencies. Published a report on the “Relationship between the Parliament and Independent Regulatory Agencies”.
• Increased ICT capacities of staffers (in particular regarding the use of Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Power Point and Excel) and Windows 10 programme) through a training course for staffers.

3. Research and policy analysis capacity

• Improved significantly the human resources and professional capacity of the Research Department. In 2017, the research department has sevenfull time researchers.
• Supported the research department to adopt and implement internal rules defining the workflow and procedures for developing research products for MPs.
• Increased significantly the number of research studies and requests from MPs and parliamentary committees from 11 in 2014 to 45 by the end of 2016,while research papers and analysis prepared on request of MPs increased from 0 in 2014 to 16 by the end of 2016.
• Negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with AUB (Americna University of Beirut). The parliamentary research department enjoys full and unlimited access to all databases and library services of AUB and enjoys the possibility to consult AUBs’ experts and professors on issues of their needs.
• Strengthened the archiving and documentation capacities of the Parliamentary Library.

4. Institutional Role

• Developed and adopted an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) strategy.
• Introduced a cloud solution for standardised e-mail addresses for MPs and parliamentary staffers.
• Created a parliamentary application for smart phone and tablet computer, which is now operational and grants direct access to the parliamentary website. The application provides information about parliamentary activities, with subscribers receiving notifications and updates.
• Updated and standardized job descriptions for all staffers in Parliament.

The Bill Tracking System and the Mobile Application for smartphone and tablet computer are both considered as important steps forward for an advanced electronic paperless Parliament and give the Lebanese citizens more information about parliamentary activities and easier access to the parliamentary website. The project has been very helpful for this. Yassin Jaber, Member of the Lebanese Parliament