Administrative reform has also been at the heart of UNDP’s Democratic Governance portfolio. UNDP provided advisory support and consultation to the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform, which resulted in the drafting and adoption in 2011 of a new administrative reform strategy for Lebanon. In the area of improving the effectiveness and accountability of the public administration, UNDP works closely with the Lebanese Parliament, Parliamentary committees and administration, and relevant Ministries and institutions on legislative reforms (incl. child custody, women nationality, personal status law, street children regulations, anti-corruption legislation, investment law etc…). Most importantly, the Parliamentary Human Right Committee closely coordinated with UNDP the finalization of the draft National Human Rights Action Plan, launched in December 2012. Parliamentary oversight is also strengthened through regional workshops to liaise MPs with local actors (government representatives, NGOs, private sector, etc…). The portfolio also works with the Ministry of Justice to promote a transparent and efficient judiciary system: in the first quarter of 2011 a help desk was established at the Beirut Court Palace to respond to all citizens’ inquiries.
The democratic governance portfolio also supports capacity development of Lebanese institutions. UNDP is supporting the Civil Defense by providing equipment and training for its members, in a way that were tested in a number of live interventions, such as rescuing citizens trapped under a collapsed buildings.
Moreover, in terms of formulation and implementation of economic and financial policies, UNDP plays a key role in supporting the Government of Lebanon in preparing a comprehensive socio-economic agenda tackling all sectors of society and state. Key reforms were reached at the Ministry of Finance with the UN’s support for instance to integrate the revenue and VAT directorates and introduce risk management at the tax administration. With the Investment Development Authority for Lebanon (IDAL), UNDP has provided technical support and know how to develop an investment strategy addressing key target sectors. A national ICT strategy was developed as well, UNDP is mobilizing nation-wide support among all stakeholders for the implementation of the strategy.
UNDP has also been playing a key role in supporting Lebanon in conducting free, fair and transparent elections since 2005. The Minister of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) was granted the UN Public Service Award for its outstanding work in improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in public service—all in recognition of the 2009 elections. More recently, UNDP launched the “Lebanese Electoral Assistance Project for the 2013 Parliamentary Elections”, to provide a strengthened capacity for: (1) the management and administration of Elections (2) the supervision of election campaigns and accreditation of observers (3) the provision of voter education initiatives (4) the resolution of electoral disputes, and (5) initiatives to improve election opportunities for women.
Finally, the portfolio also contributes to developing and sharing knowledge in the field of governance. As such, in 2008-2009, the fourth National Human Development Report (NHDR), “Toward a Citizen’s State” was coordinated by the Governance Portfolio addressing citizenship in Lebanon through three perspectives: citizenship and sectarian state, socio-economic citizenship and citizenship and culture and education.